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First published ig^y 




Part I 


I. Body and Soul 
II. Pure Spirit .... 
[II. The Body-Free Soul 
IV. The Partly Body-Free Soul . 

(a) The normal activity of the spirit-soul 
{b) Abnormal activity of the spirit-soul . 

(c) Anticipations of this abnormal activity ^ 

(d) The psychology of the spirit-soul's activity 54 

(e) The subconscious .... 
V. The Twofold Nature of the Soul's Activity 

VI. Body and Soul of our First Parents 

{a) Their preternatural modes of knowledge 
lb) Their preternatural will . 

^11. The Fall . . • . • • .90 

Part II 




I. Natural Sleep .-99 

(a) Natural dreams . . • • .102 

(/>) Natural somnambulism . . . .111 








vi Contents 

II. Pathological Sleep and Somnambulism 

(a) Second sight . 

(b) Hysteria 
— (c) Witches and their delusions 
— (</) The medium 

(e) Actual madness 

The Phenomena of Artificial Sleep 

(a) Telepathy . . Ix 

— (b) Clairvoyance. . . ^ . 

(c) The physical manifestations 

(i) Telacoustic phenomena {raps) 
(ii) Telekinesis . 
\ (iii) Teleplastic phenomena 

Certain Special Aspects of the Phenomena of 
Artificial Sleep 

a) Magic .... 

b) Radiaesthesia (divining) . 

c) Coueism and Christian Science 

d) Crystal-gazing 

e) SpirituaUsm . 

f) Ghosts and hauntings 

g) Hylomancy (psychometry) 
h) Hypnosis . . 
^ Diabolical possession 

Searchings by Mankind to attain to the 
Contemplation of Spiritual Truth and to 


Theosophy and Yoga, Cabbala and 
Astrology) ...... 



VI. Mystical Sleep 



'HE number of books that have in recent years been 
^ written on the subject of occultism is very large indeed, and 
the number of its adherents and of the periodicals concerned 
with it grows continually; this is a sign that it has become a 
serious problem, one which disturbs men's souls like a spiritual 
epidemic. Professor Feldmann, to whom the writer is obhged for 
many valuable suggestions, states in his Okkulte Philosophie 
that a second-hand bookseller in Munich sent him a catalogue 
of books on occult sciences consisting of four volumes, each 
of which contained between 600 and 800 titles. A number of 
firms are engaged in the printing and distribution of publica- 
tions on the occult both at home and abroad. The causes of this 
general widespread interest reside first of all in the great hunger 
for the preternatural which the various philosophical systems 
are unable to assuage, however high-sounding their names ; this 
epidemic, however, is also a violent reaction against the 
materialism which "holds matter to be the sole reality and the 
mother of all Uving things", which assumes no difference 
between spirit and matter, and refers to man simply as "a 
digestive tract open at both ends". 

The rehgion of Christ satisfies this hunger; but many have 
forsaken God, the fountain of living water, and have built unto 
themselves "cisterns that hold no water" (Jer. 2. 13). They have 
no knowledge of the means of salvation, and, although they 
consider themselves educated, are ignorant of Christian 
doctrine. They stand in particular fear of the CathoHc Church 
because of her moral code, live Hke heathens and are ready to 
accept any superstition that in some slight way promises to 
lead them beyond the material. 

Others seek the occult because of the childish curiosity which 
the unusual inspires, or because of the astonishing cures which, 
as they believe, could not be explained if there were not an ele- 
ment of truth in Spiritualism. Others again concern themselves 

viii Introduction 

with it in order to acquaint themselves with the behaviour of 
the soul when it is in certain unusual states and to learn its 
hidden nature, characteristics and powers, possibly also to 
assist in the development of man towards a new species, 
towards the superman. 

The explanations of occultism are as varied as they are 
numerous ; the materiaUsts seek to explain it in terms of matter 
and its movements, by a theory of "waves", the exact nature of 
which is not yet known. Others beUeve that we are dealing with 
reappearances of the dead, with "rebirths", or with a "peri- 
spirit" which is not truly either spirit or body but is what is 
called an astral body. The majority of learned Christians fall 
back on the devil, who is supposed in these cases to misuse 
human powers and so to deceive us. Admittedly they try 
increasingly to ascribe as many of these phenomena as possible 
to natural powers. So far, however, they do not appear to have 
arrived at a satisfactory explanation. 

Writers who ascribe everything to demoniac intervention, or, 
at any rate, do this in the case of transcendental phenomena 
(supersensual manifestations) such as "spiritual suggestion", 
perception of objects that are not present to the eye, movement 
of objects at a distance, etc., argue as follows: there are certain 
manifestations for which there is no natural explanation, and 
since they cannot be ascribed to the intervention of God or the 
angels or to the dead, there remains only one possible author, 
and that is the devil, i 

At first sight this seems sensible enough, but it rests on the 
supposition that the soul has no powers save those which it 
ordinarily displays ; it is thus essentially a superficial view, and 
those who hold it seem unaware of the fact th^ they are opening 
the door to precisely that kind of demonomania that for some 
five hundred years caused the West to have witches on the 
brain. Moreover, to call on the devil as though he were a kind 
of deus ex machina, every time we cannot think of some natural 
explanation for a thing, is really a little unscientific. 

The teaching of the Church is equally far removed from either 

1 Dr Arthiir Lehmkuhl, Theologia Moralis, I, 1902, n. 363 ; Adam Gopfert, 
Moraltheologie, 1922; Lapponi Hypnotismus und Spiritismus, Leipzig, 1906 
(German translation of the Italian). 

Introduction ix 

extreme, from materialism as from demonomania. The Church 
does not deny the possibiUty of diabohcal possession and even 
has a special ordination conferring powers of exorcism for the 
casting out of devils, but she enjoins us to treat everything as 
natural until the contrary is proved, a rule that she applies with 
particular strictness when alleged miracles are cited in a 
canonization process. 

In these circumstances it is surely legitimate to present in the 
light of theology and of Christian philosophy an explanation 
which seems to come closer to the truth. It is not suggested that 
the theory here advanced is wholly new, for its essential 
features are to be found in other Catholic writers, but so far it 
has not been presented as a consistent whole. One could call 
this theory the theory of the spirit-soul, and its basic assumption 
is that the depths of this spirit-soul are as yet insufficiently 
known to us. 

It is a curious thing that until recently man had much 
neglected to explore the depths of the human soul. Myers draws 
attention to this remarkable fact in the following words : 

In the long story of man's endeavour to understand his 
own environment and to govern his own fate, there is one gap 
or omission so singular that, however we may afterwards con- 
trive to explain the fact, its simple statement has the air of a 
paradox. Yet is is strictly true to say that man has never yet 
applied to the problems which most profoundly concern him 
those methods of enquiry which, in attacking all other 
problems, he has found so efficacious. 

The question for man most momentous of all is whether he 
has an immortal soul, or — to avoid the word immortal, which 
belongs to the realm of infinities — whether or no his person- 
ality involves an element which can survive bodily death. . . . 
I say then this method (of modern scientific enquiry) has 
never yet been applied to the most important problem of 
existence : the powers, the destiny of the human soul ... in 
most civiHzed countries there has been for nearly two 
thousand years a distinct beUef that survival has actually been 
proved by certain phenomena observed at a given date in 
Palestine. And beyond the Christian pale — whether through 

X Introduction 

reason, instinct or superstition — it has been commonly held 
that ghostly phenomena of one kind or another exist to 
testify to a life beyond the life we know. 

But nevertheless neither those who believe on vague 
grounds, nor those who believe on definite grounds that the 
question might possibly, or has actually been solved, by 
human observation of objective facts, have hitherto made any 
serious attempt to connect and correlate that belief with the 
general scheme of beUef for which science already vouches. 
They have not sought for fresh corroborative instances, for 
analogy, for explanations, rather have they kept their con- 
victions on these fundamental matters in separate and sealed 
compartments of their mind, a compartment consecrated to 
religion or to superstititon, but not to observation and 

To devote one's powers to the exploration of the human soul 
seems therefore to be both a lawful and a necessary undertaking. 
Admittedly people like Flammarion, Crookes and Moser have 
in the past repeatedly referred to something they called 
"psychic power", but none of them has so far been able to 
indicate its sources or explain it more precisely. The reason for 
this is that there is only one person qualified to do this, and that 
is the theologian, for the theologian knows the powers of the 
soul from other sources and is thus able to make the necessary 
inferences and deductions. 

Men today are everywhere concerned with scientific progress. 
They seek for knowledge about minute microbes and even about 
electrons, they enter the depths of the sea and the heights of the 
stratosphere. If they do all these things for the sake of increasing 
their knowledge, it is surely permissible for us to explore the 
depths of the human soul and thus to learn more of those rare 
qualities and powers which are the cause of so many astonishing 

The phenomena of occultism are very remarkable, but they 
are not unlike certain manifestations which occur in sleep, under 
hypnosis, in magic, in the delusions of witchcraft and even in 
lunacy. Perhaps we can find a common cause for all of them in 

1 Human Personality and its Survival after Bodily Death, Preface. 

Introduction xi 

the fact that under certain conditions the soul is freed from the 
bonds which bind it to the body and from the restrictions thus 
imposed, and that when in this state it may be capable of 
extraordinary activities. 

It is most necessary that when we are trying to define the 
extent of the natural powers of the soul, we should remember 
that we do not actually know the limits of this same human soul 
at all. Let the disciples of Kant in particular recall that the 
Konigsberg philosopher assumed a metaphysical basis for the 
soul lying beyond the phenomena accessible to us in the normal 
way. Theology teaches us that in Paradise man possessed powers 
which were afterwards lost to him. The question is, which 
powers were lost completely, which were merely weakened, and 
whether certain of these powers, which may have remained 
latent, might not in certain circumstances be capable of revival. 

There are two truths which people today have almost 
completely forgotten. The first is that man is a fallen creature, 
which means that he once possessed certain spiritual powers 
that can now only be present in him in a weakened state ; they 
can thus only become effective under certain exceptional con- 
ditions, and even then only in a very imperfect way. The 
second truth is that, although it is connected with the body, the 
soul is a spirit which may sometimes loosen that connection, 
and may thus be able to achieve things that would ordinarily 
be impossible. The writer is acquainted with those veritable 
mountains of objection that can be raised against such a theory ; 
he is nevertheless prepared to defend himself 

If we can succeed in throwing new light on the two truths to 
which reference has just been made then the way is open to a 
better understanding of certain acts of the soul which it has 
hitherto been thought necessary to ascribe to the intervention 
of an alien intelUgence. The writer knows well enough that the 
task is difficult, and that, as may always happen when one 
follows a path that none other has trod, there is danger of a 
false step. He does not by any means despise the somewhat 
different approaches made by others to this problem, and he 
expects that the consideration which he extends to others 
should be shown to himself. At least he hopes to be credited 
with the good intention of wishing to serve the cause of truth. 

xii Introduction 

To effect a comprehensive survey of the subject, it will be 
necessary to refer to a number of departments of knowledge, 
such as scholastic philosophy, dogmatic theology, the psy- 
chology of the normal, psychopathology, and finally para- 
psychology. This can obviously only be done somewhat 
sketchily, nor can there for the present be any question of 
detailed scientific work, though the latter will become much 
easier when this Ariadne thread has led us out of the labyrinth 
of occult phenomena into the daylight of modern mental 
science. If the present attempt to break open a door succeeds, 
it will perhaps prove possible to treat the whole question in 
a more sober and serious spirit than has hitherto been the 

There is yet another purpose that is served by this work. The 
findings of modern research into matters pertaining to the soul 
often shed a quite surprising light on to many of the truths of 
the Faith, which indeed, according to the medieval view, is the 
real purpose of scientific enquiry, so that every increase in our 
scientific knowledge is really a stage in the progress of our 
knowledge of God and of his Revelation; thus "religious belief 
may obtain a (new) scientific basis and our knowledge may 
become a continuous and unbroken progress from the things of 
this world to those of the next", while the facts we thus dis- 
cover may provide "an experimental demonstration of survival 
after death and bring about a fusion of religion and science" 

Science and religion should never be at enmity ; they should 
assist, complete and illuminate each other, and in the present 
publication the concept "spirit" (which implies a complete 
absence of matter) will be introduced from theology into occult 
science, where so far it has not had the place it truly deserves ; 
as against this it is hoped that a certain amount of new light 
will be shed on the teachings of the Faith, a light that will 
necessarily be lacking when there has been no experimental 
demonstration of the faculties of the purely spiritual soul. 

If the reader has no great interest in purely theological 
exposition, he had best skip the first part of this book, though 
such expositions are necessary for anyone wishing to examine 
occult phenomena in the light of theology. For the rest the 

Introduction xiii 

writer can but treat the words of the astronomer Flammarion 
as though they were his own : 

If I had the time, I would gladly pursue this study of 
occult phenomena with greater intensity, though it is a good 
thing not to devote oneself to it exclusively, else one is liable 
to lose that independence of mind required for impartial 
judgment ; it is best only to occupy oneself with such subjects 
by way of exception, and to treat them as an interesting and 
attractive diversion. There are certain forms of food and 
drink that should be enjoyed in small doses. I only wish to 
study a part of these secrets. What one man fails to do is done 
by another, and each modestly adds a stone to the proud 
edifice of knowledge, ... so every writer has his own sphere 
of responsibility ; we live at the centre of an unseen world, 
which we cannot explain by means of our earthly knowledge 
alone; possibly the knowledge vouchsafed to us through 
theology may bring us a step nearer to it.l 

1 Riddles of the Life of the Soul (German translation of the French, 
Stuttgart, 1908, p. 427). 


abstraction: Leaving aside the accidental, non-essential qualities 

and considering only the essential. 
AMNESIA : Loss of memory, forgetting. 
ANAESTHESIA : Loss of scnsation. 

ANTHROPOSOPHY : Like Theosophy : immediate, intuitive knowledge. 
apport: Bringing (objects) near. 
ASTRAL body: A living form, ghost or wraith originating in the 

world of spirits. 
AURA : A fine emanation surrounding the body. 
AUTOMATISM : Involuntary self-movement. 
AUTOSUGGESTION : Influencing of self. 
BHAGAVAD GiTA : Indian sacred book. 
BODY-, OR CORPORAL, SOUL : The soul in so far as it works through 

the body. 
chiromancy: "Hand-reading". Used here in the sense of reading 

the history of a person's life from an examination of the lines 

of the hand. 
christian science : Claims to heal by the power of the mind. 
CLAIRVOYANCE : The power of seeing things not present to the senses. 
control spirit: An intermediary between the medium and the 

cryptaesthesia : Perception of what is hidden. 
crystal-gazing : Clairvoyance by means of a bright sphere. 
cumberlandism : Thought-reading by observation of the in- 
voluntary movement of the muscles : "muscle reading". 
dipsomania: Alcoholism. 
DUALISM : Philosophical system that assumes two essentially different 

ecstasy: Being "out of oneself", i.e. without sense perception. 
EiDETic : An imaginary seeing of things. 
esp: Abbreviation of " Extra-sensory perception". 
ETHEREAL BODY : A body of fine, subtile matter. 
exorcism : Driving out of a devil. 
FAKIR : Indian ascetic. 

gnosis : Knowledge : used especially of mystical knowledge. 
graphology : Science of reading the character of a person from 

his handwriting. 
HALLUCINATION : Perception of things with no external existence. 
HOROSCOPE : Prediction of the future by observation of the position 

of the stars. 

xvi - Glossary 

HYPERAESTHESiA : Extremely heightened power of perception. 

HYPERMNESiA : Extreme power of remembrance. 

HYPNOSIS : Artificial state of sleep. 

HYSTERIA : Action influenced by the subconscious. 

iDEOMOTOR : Of the theory that every thought produces a movement. 

ILLUSION : Erroneous interpretation of what is perceived. 

intuition: Immediate sight (without the agency of the senses). 

magnetize: To produce electro-magnetic effects by stroking the 

medium: An intermediary between man and the "spirit". 
monism: Philosophical system that assumes only one principle in 

explaining the world. 
noopneustia: The mutual influence exercised by two spiritual 

occasionalism: Theory that soul and body do not influence one 

another but that the operation of one is only the "occasion" 

of the working of the other. 
occult : A happening the cause of which is unknown. 
PERispiRiT : The ethereal body able to leave men. 
phantom: a spirit ("ghost") appearing in a body. 
psychometry: Divination or prediction while touching a lifeless 

rapport: The connection established by which the hypnotized 

hears and is influenced by the hypnotist. 
rudiment : Vestigial, unusable organ. 
second sight : The power of seeing what is removed in space and 

spiRiT-souL : The soul in so far as it reaches beyond the body. 
spiritualism : Ascribes occult phenomena to the action of the souls 

of the dead. 
SPOKENKIEKER : " Ghost-sccrs ". 
SUGGESTION : Hypnotic influencing. 
SYNTEREsis : Knowledge of the supreme principles of being, thought 

and morality. 
TELACousTiG : Hearing at a distance. 

telaesthesia : Perception at a distance (includes clairvoyance). 
TELEKINESIS : Motiou at a distance. 

telepathy: Feeling, perception at a distance (includes thought- 
reading) . 
teleplasma : A bodily substance separated from the body. 
theosophy : Knowledge by immediate spiritual communication. 
TRANCE : A state of insensibility. 
trichotomy: View that man consists of three parts: body, soul, 

whisper-theory: Theory that direct transmission of thought is 

really a faint whispering that is heard by another. 

Part I 



[It is the author's contention that occult phenomena, such as 
telepathy, second sight, the production of sounds (raps), and the 
movement of bodies otherwise than through muscular action, are 
due to the activity of a part or element of the human soul which he 
calls spirit-soul, and that in so far as this element is active, the soul 
is simply behaving after the manner of a pure spirit and showing a 
pure spirit's characteristics. It is the author's ultimate contention 
that this mode of action is a vestigial remnant of the preternatural 
powers with which our first parents were endowed before the Fall. 
The author's first task is clearly to show that this element in 
the soul actually exists, and he sets about doing so deductively. 
According to scholastic philosophy body and soul are a unity, and 
the soul without the body is an imperfect substance. Nevertheless 
this imperfect substance lives on after separation from the body, and 
when doing so can only exist as a pure spirit. It follows that the soul 
must have within itself, potentially or actually, the attributes of a 
pure spirit.] 

OCCULT phenomena astonish us because they appear to 
pass beyond the powers of our living body and seem, as it 
were, to take place miraculously outside the framework of the 
laws of nature. We must therefore first acquaint ourselves with 
the nature of man, and learn something of the powers both of 
the body and the soul and of the mutual interdependence of 
these powers as, under the guidance of Catholic teaching, these 
things are presented to us by scholastic philosophy. 

In order to understand what follows we must keep before our 
minds the scholastic doctrine that the body consists of both 
matter and form. This doctrine goes back to Aristotle, and the 
findings of science afford no grounds for amplifying it further 
save in a few insignificant particulars. Matter is an indeterminate 
substance without extension, it is a real potential which cannot 
become a concrete body save through conjunction with another 
principle of being, that of substantial form. Today our minds 

4 Occult Phenomena 

would turn to those quite indeterminate waves whose mutual 
intersections and mergings form the wave packet (electron! 
neutron, positron, etc.), and by means of this first form change' 
from a state of wholly indeterminate being into a concrete 
thing. Primary matter, which is only a "reahty in posse" (a 
potential reahty), becomes through the addition of a form, a 
real thing. Scholasticism conceives of all bodies as so consti- 
tuted, and applies this conception to man itself In this last, 
however, a bodily substratum existing by virtue of a subordinate 
form receives a higher form of being, the soul. The reasoning 
soul is the substantial form of the human body, and this after 
such a fashion that it comprehends within itself the lower forms, 
namely the vegetative and the animal soul. Body and soul are 
incomplete substances which only in combination make a 
unitary substantial being — man. 

This unity is not merely a unity of common dynamic effect, 
as was thought by Plato, Olivi, Descartes and more recently by 
Klages, but a unity of nature and being which forms one 
principle of action, one nature, and only falls apart in death. 
The reasoning soul is the immediate form of the body and 
contains within itself the vegetative and sensitive souls, much 
as a polygon contains a triangle ; all three are interdependent 
and are adjusted to one another. 

Man therefore consists of a body and a soul. The body con- 
tains the material elements and substances of the earth; it is the 
material part, it is extended, inert and made up of a number of 
cells, molecules and atoms, all distributed according to a 
marvellous pattern. Of itself, however, it is incapable of an 
independent movement. | 

As against this, the soul is the immaterial part, simple, ' 
endowed with reason, and active; together with the body it 
forms the natural entity, man. The ancient philosopher 
Aristotle defines the soul as "the first principle of the vegetative, 
sensitive and spiritual functions" {De Anima, II, 2). 

The vegetative hfe, with its functions of nutrition-intake of 
matter (without its form), of growth and procreation, is 
dependent on the soul which unites the various parts that are 
separated as to time and place. The vegetative life, however, is 
confined to the purely physiological processes. 

Occult Phenomena 5 

The sensitive life activates essentially different processes in 
which the organs of sense exercise specific functions that are 
pecuHar to themselves and receive the various sensible forms 
without their matter. We usually reckon with five senses, those 
of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, though modern 
philosophers add certain others ; these senses are all receptive to 
the stimuU proceeding from matter and duly transform them. 
These transformed stimuli are carried on to the brain, where 
in mysterious fashion they release sense perceptions ; these last 
are again closely bound up with the vegetative life; they are 
weakened, for instance, when we are hungry or overfed, a proof 
that they are dependent on the same essential principle, the soul. 

Our intellectual and spiritual life is in its turn bound to these 
sensual perceptions and to the images that are based upon 
them; it apprehends their content, that is to say the sub- 
stantiated forms of their being, without their substance, and 
thus penetrates into the nature of the sensually apprehended 
objects and grasps the relation between them ; in this way also 
it forms general ideas and can recognize the nature and norm 
of the good and with it that of evil. It therefore extends far 
beyond the senses, which can only apprehend isolated material 

The reason passes beyond the reach of sensual perceptions, it 
discovers abstract and non-material concepts and general super- 
sensual ideas, and thus raises the world of sensual cognition on 
to an essentially higher, spiritual and non-material plane. Even 
at that level, however, it still remains dependent on the appre- 
hensions of the senses for so long as the soul is bound to the body. 
Nevertheless such dependence does not imply that the soul can 
in no circumstances be free of the senses, or is incapable of 
regaining at any time its purely spiritual nature. A distinction 
must therefore be made between the body-soul, which possesses 
the faculties described above, and the spirit-soul which, in its 
activities, reaches out beyond the material (cf St Thomas, I, 
q. 76, a. 4, ad i). 

The principle of this vegetative, sensitive and spiritual life is 
the soul, which forms a single nature, a single substance with 
the body, its instrument to which it is essentially united; this 
soul is, though of a spiritual nature, an incomplete substance 

6 Occult Phenomena I 

and is designed for this union with the body ; it is only through 
that union that it becomes a complete substance, and it is from 
the body that it receives the elements by means of which it can 
develop its own spiritual attributes. 

From this unity of being there results the ability of soul and 
body to influence each other, and it is this that makes it possible 
for the two modes of cognition to act upon each other. Percep- 
tion takes place by means of the senses, which are the living 
body's organs and instruments. Physical damage to any of the 
senses or to any other bodily organ can impair their ability to 
apprehend the outer world or to make representations of it to 
the mind. A physiological process which disturbs the functions 
of the sense-organs also changes the quality of their perceptions, 
since these are conditioned by chemical and mechanical pro- 
cesses. The air waves that strike our ear occasion sound, while 
light waves cause the picture in our eyes. A fault in the eye 
can cause colour blindness or make us see flashes, while damage 
to our auditory mechanism may produce a buzzing in the ears 
or may cause us to become tone-deaf or completely deaf 
Physical condition may also influence our intelligence, for the 
body is the instrument of the soul, and from this arises the 
necessity for the care of our bodies ; from here also comes that 
inheritance of character among families and races of which 
there is so much talk today, i 

The vegetative life influences the life of the senses, as we can 
see for ourselves whenever we please, by observing the quality 
of our mental activity after a meal ; as the scholastics put it : 
una actio, quando fuerit intensa, impedit alteram (if one act is 
intensive, it hinders another) ; this is why we are unable to do 
any work immediately after a meal, at least not any mental 
work — as indeed that somewhat crude proverb tells us: Ein 
voller Bauch studiert nicht gern (a full belly is reluctant to study) . 
We also know the effect of intoxicating drink on our mind and 
on our senses, and the disturbance caused in our sensual per- 
ception by hunger, thirst and anaemia of the brain ; we know 
the effect of opium and other narcotics which often bring about 
the most remarkable hallucinations (see the remarks on witches 
below) . 

1 See Salzburger Hochschulwochen, 1937, p. 95. 

Occult Phenomena 7 

In recent times this fact has been rather more thoroughly 
exploited than before. Mesmer already believed that in 
"animal magnetism" he had found a power that enabled him 
to make men as pliable as wax in his hands. Later this method 
was further developed in hypnotism and psychoanalysis. But 
modern man was not satisfied with this additional key for the 
opening up of the subconscious ; he began to use the crowbar of 
narcoanalysis, inducing "somnolence" in the patient with 
barbituric acid, whereupon "a certain euphoria and freedom 
from inhibition and often a protracted urge to talk would 
become observable and conscious control appeared to relax". 
In this state a man will report and confess anything, a fact of 
which the unscrupulous do not hesitate to make full use. 

Even more drastic effects can be produced by certain drugs 
which have been in use over the past thirty years ; these are 
derived from mescalin, which comes from the juice of a certain 
Mexican cactus, or from marihuana. 

The criminologist A. Mergen writes as follows^ : 

It is a well-known fact that mental functions can be 
influenced by drugs ; we can even induce genuine functional 
psychoses in this way. It is known, for instance, that mescalin 
can produce a quasi-schizophrenic state and that adrenalin 
or actedron can produce a depressively coloured psychosis. 
We know that in a depressive psychosis the sufferer relates all 
misfortunes to himself, that in his manic state he feels himself 
to be loaded down with the most terrible guilt, that with the 
uttermost contrition he begs for punishment, even for death. 
The depressive psychopath is profoundly convinced of his 
wickedness. He displays remorse and asks for punishment for 
purely imaginary crimes that he has never committed at all. 
He brings accusations against himself, and his remarks and 
confessions are subjectively correct, for his guilt is something 
of which he is firmly convinced. His basic mood is one of sad- 
ness and fear ; he is slack, lacking all impulse, and the little 
spark of energy that he can muster is devoted to the accusa- 
tion of himself as the supposed author of all the suffering and 
misery in the world and to asking for a "just" punishment 

1 See Hochland, 1952, p. 245. 

8 Occult Phenomena Ij 

for his alleged misdeeds. There is in such cases a constant 
danger of suicide. 

This psychopathic condition can be induced in people by 
drugs that act on the sympathetic nervous system (ephedrin, 
adrenalin, actedron, etc.) and can be maintained by the 
continuous administration of the drug in question. These 
sufferers, with their sad and anxious faces and general appear- 
ance of slackness and fatigue, with eyes starting out of their 
sockets and reflecting the terror inspired by a creeping 
uncanny "something", accuse themselves and ask for 
punishment in most contrite fashion. They dig their own 
graves in which they hope at last to find forgiveness and 
redemption. There is nothing very remarkable about this 
behaviour if one has regard to the fact that the entire person- 
ality has undergone a change which causes the patient to 
exhibit the symptoms of depressive mania. These refined 
modern tortures, which are much more horrible than those 
of the Middle Ages, are quite useless for clarifying any 
question of actual fact but knowingly falsify it. Truth is 
indeed, to those who employ them, an irrelevancy. Their only 
purpose is to exact confessions. 

It has been reported that such confessions on the part of 
helpless prisoners are relayed directly to an unthinking public. 
For the scientifically trained observer, however, they merely 
furnish another example of the influence which that part of us 
which belongs to our body and our senses can exert over our 
mind. The latest development is that narcoanalysis has been 
abandoned in favour of surgical measures, the nerves between 
the frontal lobes and the brain stem being severed. Since this 
operation can actually be performed through the eye-socket, 
the conversion of political opponents into obedient dummies 
without a will of their own can be achieved without scars and 
concentration camps — and without any scream of pain pene- 
trating into the records of history. 

If the influence of the body on the mind can be as disastrous 
as this, the converse is true in an even greater degree, for the 
mind most certainly can react upon the body, or to be more 
precise, the intellectual can influence the vegetative life. Some 

Occult Phenomena 9 

people cannot think of things that are repulsive to them without 
vomiting, or at least without losing their appetite. The mere 
thought of tasty dishes can activate certain glands; also 
intensive mental work tires our bodies and uses up our nerves. 
"The soul builds up the body — Die Seek erbaut den Korper" 
(Schiller), spiritualizes the features — or bestializes them — and 
every thought leaves its marks upon the body. There are people 
who profess to be able to read the whole life history of a person 
in the furrows of his face or the lines of his palm (chiromancy) or 
in the tremors of his handwriting (graphology). Dr Victor 
Naumann, whose pseudonym is "Spectator", was able to tell 
what were the special subjects taught by the teachers at a 
certain high school by simply examining their faces. 

Recent experiments in suggestion have also shown that the 
soul can produce sense perceptions, for which there is no real 
external stimulus at all — as in hallucination — while the mere 
act of thinking about an action tends to produce the actual 
muscular movements necessary to call that action into effect. 
This is the law of ideodynamics, which is the basis of" Cumber- 
landism" or "muscle reading". 

In hysteria the subconscious controls the vegetative life to 
such an extent that the body can be sick or well according as 
the imagination dictates, and in abnormal states a distribution 
of the blood and of the juices of the body can be attained which 
will cure a diseased part by causing hyperaemia to occur there. 
However, more of all this hereafter ; for the moment let it suffice 
that we have shown the interdependence of the vegetative, 
sensitive and mental life, and so given proof of the unity of the 

If it were true that there exists, as some people maintain, a 
third element, a perispirit which directs the functions of our 
vegetative-sensitive life, then the thinking subject would be 
unable to feel, or indeed to live, since these activities would 
depend on another principle — and this goes counter to our 
actual experience. The various functions of the soul are 
immanent and take effect within the same subject from which 
they proceed ; if the subject that thinks also lives and feels, then 
this proves that there is no trichotomy, and when Holy 
Scripture uses different names for mind, spirit, etc., namely 

10 Occult Phenomena 

vovs, TTvey/xa and ifjvxrji the purpose is to indicate natural and 
supernatural life (Lercher, Dogmatik) — or possibly the soul's two 
modes of existence, as a spirit-soul and a corporal soul; the soul 
is of course in each case the same soul, but it has a dual aspect, 
that of a pure spirit and of something that has combined with 
the body. Similarly the mystics have one and the same soul in 
mind when they speak of the "ground of the soul", or of the 
"spark of the soul", or of the "soul's point". 

The corporal soul is also dependent on sense perceptions for 
its highest activities, for the formation of non-material concepts, 
in accordance with the principle that Nihil est in intellectu quod 
non fuit in sensu (nothing is in the intellect which has not 
previously been in the senses), for it is impossible to have any 
real idea of a thing of which there has never been a sense 
perception, A blind man can never form any proper notion 
of the nature of light or colour, and none of us has really any 
conception of non-material or supernatural things, since we 
have never been able to apprehend them sensually and only 
from the senses could the soul abstract immediate notions. 
Whether the soul during its period of conjunction with the 
body can engage in activities that are wholly divorced from 
the body will be discussed in Chapter IV below. 

Most people know Raffael Santi's fresco in the Vatican, "The 
School of Athens", in which the philosophers and learned men 
of antiquity are depicted. The artist has placed the two greatest 
ones, Plato and Aristotle, in the centre, with the former 
pointing his finger skywards, while the latter points down to 
earth. By depicting them in these attitudes the painter indicated 
the nature of their respective philosophies and the manner in 
which they conceived universal ideas to have originated. Plato 
thought that they came from heaven, and that the soul had 
lived with them there before its union with the body. Later, 
when it has been united with the body, it remembers them, and 
that is how the knowledge of universal ideas is acquired.! 

As against this, Aristotle believed that universal ideas are 
formed by abstraction from the perceptions of the senses. These 

1 Cf. Wiesinger, ^ur Auffassung Platos heute. in the jubilee publication on 
the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Gymnasium in Kremsmiinster, 
Wels, 1949. 

Occult Phenomena 1 1 

perceptions must always have prior existence if any concept is 
to be formed ; when this is not the case, the concepts are very 
imperfect and are negative, and are in the nature of similes or 
symbols, and it seems that experience has shown that Aristotle 
is right. Moreover Aristotle seems to make the unity of the soul 
much clearer than Plato, who seems to overemphasize the 
element of spirituaHty and thus to dissolve this unity. Plato, 
however, is a better teacher of that other truth which today 
tends to be so widely forgotten, namely that the soul does 
possess an element which is pure spirit and nothing else (see 
page 25). 

We know, however, that this union of soul and body must 
one day cease with death; indeed death consists in this very 
severance ; the question now before us is whether the two parts 
can exist and function in separation. 

When the body no longer possesses its form, the soul, which 
makes of it a complete substance, it disintegrates ; it is true that, 
as philosophy says, it receives a transient form as a corpse and 
still has the attributes of matter, namely weight and extension, 
but this transient form can no longer hold the constituent parts 
together but permits them to fall apart. 

And the soul ? The soul continues its Hfe, for it is spiritual and 
therefore immortal, but it continues its Hfe as something 
essentially incomplete and naturally experiences an urge to 
reunite with the body. It therefore leads an extra-natural and 
extra-ordinary life until at the resurrection of the dead the 
reunion with the body can be effected. 

Now what is the nature of the life of the soul during this 
phase of separation ? Since the soul is a spirit, we must first 
acquaint ourselves, if we are to answer the question just posed, 
with the nature of pure spirits. This is all the more necessary in 
so far as we have reason to believe that even during its time of 
union with the body the soul can in certain circumstances, such, 
for instance, as those of the mystic state, act after the manner 
of a pure spirit. 



[So far we have inferred that the soul possesses within itself, 
potentially or actually, the attributes of a pure spirit. What then 
are those attributes? Here theology can enlighten us — at least to 
some extent, for it can tell us much concerning these attributes, in 
particular it can tell us what is a spirit's mode of knowledge. This 
is different from our own, in so far as human knowledge is built up 
out of sense perceptions while a spirit's is not, a spirit's mode of 
knowledge being wholly intuitive.] 

THERE is scarcely a concept of philosophy that has been 
less perfectly clarified than that of spirit. The inevitable 
result of this has been that in all cases in which we are dealing 
with the effects of a spirit's activity people go so widely astray, 
that they search for and excogitate explanations possible and 
impossible, set up hypotheses and invent so-called working 
methods, and all the while get ever deeper into the mire. One 
of the reasons for this is that it is in the nature of profane 
philosophy to proceed inductively from the phenomena them- 
selves, and to endeavour to infer from these the actual concept 
of spirit. But this is at best a very unsatisfactory procedure and 
cannot yield any good result, since it is only the manifestations 
of the corporal soul that are taken into account. Where the 
purely spiritual is concerned, those engaged on these enquiries 
are usually devoid of all knowledge of such a thing and flatly 
deny its existence even where it is to be plainly inferred ; for 
exact science will only recognize a "closed natural causality" 
and rejects the findings of all other categories of knowledge — 
that of theology, for instance. The men who take this attitude 
are only too well aware (as we shall see on page 137) that the 
whole proud rationalist edifice would have to submit to 
revision, if the force of evidence were to compel them to assume 
the existence of a non-material power. 

Now the phenomena of occultism are simply not to be 

Occult Phenomena 1 3 

understood unless we can take cognizance of a cause that lies 
outside the purely material, and actually the researches carried 
on for over sixty years at the University of Durham, U.S.A., 
very strongly suggest that such causes do exist — as we can see 
from Professor J. B. Rhine's book The Reach of the Mind. It is 
therefore necessary to find out whatever we can concerning the 
essential nature of the powers in which these causes are to be 

Actually the researchers in question are most anxious that 
their findings should have light shed upon them and possibly be 
confirmed from other departments of knowledge. "The bearing 
of our work upon religion", Professor Rhine wrote in a letter 
to me, "is to me its primary significance" ; and certainly such 
men stand to gain if the results of their research can be con- 
firmed by the undisputed findings of another department of 
learning, and one might add that it is equally satisfactory when 
the truths proclaimed by religion and philosophy are confirmed 
by the findings of exact science. 

In all the circumstances, then, we need have no hesitation in 
using the concept of spirit as finally developed by the Scholastics 
as a means of explaining occult phenomena, even if that concept 
seems somewhat strange and its employment unusual to profane 
science. I use the words "finally developed" advisedly in this 
connection, for there were those among the Fathers who 
ascribed a fiery or "ethereal" body to the angels, basing them- 
selves on Psalm 103. 4, while certain Scholastics assumed some 
combination of matter and form. Today the completely 
incorporeal character of angels, as also of the human soul, is 
accounted a firmly established doctrine. That being so, it is 
well worth our while to study the scholastic concept of spirit 
which radically rejects any kind of material attribute and draws 
its conclusions accordingly. 

The scholastic idea of spirit is of course very different from 
that of the "spirits" and "controls" of spiritualism, which are 
all supposed to have a delicate astral body, and which have 
been invented because their existence seemed necessary for the 
explanation of occult phenomena. The concept of spirit here 
employed, however, is not a thing that I have been forced to 
invent under the pressure of necessity, nor the expedient of 

14 Occult Phenomena 

scientific bankruptcy, but a doctrine taught by the greatest 
philosophers of mankind, and one that has lasted for thousands : 
of years — even though it may be unknown to many and ignored 
by many more. 

The ethnologist Fr Wilhelm Schmidt, S.V.D., tells us that the 
oldest peoples of the earth have always ascribed a kind of 
spirituality to the supreme being, God, though they were not 
always able to express very clearly what was in their minds. 
Comparisons such as "He is like the wind" represent crude 
attempts at such a description.! It was the task of human 
culture and learning to clarify this concept of spirit and to 
trace it in different beings. 

In man we can see two substances, spirit and matter, united 
in a single nature, although each is completely different from 
the other. Matter exists separate in the bodies surrounding us. 
From this it would seem to follow that spirit may also exist 
separate from matter. Spirit is the name given by the philo- 
sophers to a substance that is neither matter nor dependent on 
matter for its existence or its activity. God is a spirit, as are the 
angels, the devils, as are also human souls. The philosophers say 
that it is the nature of a spirit that it should uninterruptedly 
possess itself One can only possess something that one recognizes 
as such and appropriates to oneself; this activity is an unbroken 
transition from possibility to actuality by means of thought and 
will. It is not an organic process — since a spirit has no organs — 
but a spiritual one and consists of acts of the understanding and 
the will which are the two basic faculties or accidents of the 
spirit. The intellectual memory is not a special faculty, but 
merely the natural effect and development of the intellectual 
power according to habit and disposition. ^ In order to get to 
know the nature of the life of a spirit, however, we must explain 
its activities. 

The intelUgence of a pure spirit is essentially higher than that 
of human beings, for the latter can only apprehend the pheno- 
mena of matter through the senses, and it is only thus that they 
can arrive at a knowledge of tilings themselves and of their 

1 Ursprung der Gottesidee, VI, Miinster, 1935, p. 394. 

2 Cf. St Thomas, I, q. 79, a. 6, and Stockl, Mayencc, igio, Grundzuge 
der Philosophie, p. 466. 

Occult Phenomena 15 

nature. This means that men must first learn the nature of 
material things, and that this knowledge serves as a means 
whereby they can most imperfectly grasp things that are non- 
material, spiritual and supernatural. 

The spirit on the other hand first knows the nature of purely 
spiritual things, doing so directiy ; it first of all knows spiritual 
substances and, as St Thomas teaches us (I, q. 84, a. 7), through 
these the material (the actual object of the divine intelligence is 
the nature of God in which he knows everything that is know- 
able) . The spirits first apprehend themselves, and after this the 
other spirits, and by this means arrive at a knowledge of (God 
and) matter ; their way is thus the opposite to that of man. 

Moreover the actual mode of apprehension is different. In 
order to recognize an object the spirit must have the thing 
within itself, that is to say, it must have its form without its 
matter; this is what the philosophers call a "species impressa'* 
or "vicaria".! Human beings must gradually acquire these 
"species" through study and experience, and must always 
arrive at universal ideas by means of an abstraction from 
phenomena, whereas a spirit receives all species at once at the 
time of its creation. Thanks to these inborn species the spirits 
first recognize non-material things and only after this the 
material ones, but even the latter are more perfectly appre- 
hended by them than by man, despite the fact that man 
apprehends them directly; this is so because their means of 
apprehension, namely the inborn species, are more perfect than 
those of man, the means in man's case being the acquired 
species. Similarly the knowledge of God is the most perfect of 
all, being infinitely more perfect than that of any spirit, because 
it has at its disposal the most perfect means, which is the divine 
nature itself, and the infused species are always more perfect 
than those that have been acquired. 

Nevertheless even infused knowledge is sometimes less perfect 
than acquired, a fact that St Thomas (I, q. 55, a. 3) explains as 
follows : Much knowledge, he tells us, is already given to the 
angels by a single species ; even so the less perfect among them 
may need more than one, much as a talented human being 
can grasp a thing more quickly than a less talented who may 

1 Cf. Schiffini, Disp. metaph. spec, p. 272. 

1 6 Occult Phenomena 

need numerous explanations of detail. Since even among the 
spirits there are numerous degrees of perfection, it follows that 
the lower angels have need of a greater number of such species, 
while the human soul, which is a rather less perfect spirit than 
any angel, requires a greater number still. From this it follows 
further that when it functions as a pure spirit, the knowledge 
acquired by the soul always has something vague and general 
about it, unless by a special grace God raises it to a higher level 
of clarity. This makes St Thomas think (I, q. 89, a.2) that it is 
better in this respect for the soul to be united to the body, 
although circumstances may arise in which its intuitive 
knowledge may be much more perfect than that which is 

For all this the cognition of a pure spirit is much more 
perfect than that of man, for man acquires his knowledge by 
slow degrees and with some labour, and he is incUned all too 
easily to forget anything that has not been very thoroughly 
impressed upon him, or anything that knowledge subsequently 
acquired has pushed into the background of his mind. Moreover 
men's energies are often diverted by other forms of work, so 
that the knowledge that such men have acquired may become 
useless to them. Or again they grow tired, need sleep, fall sick, 
or are for some other reason not in the right frame of mind, or 
they suffer from the weather, from heat and cold, etc. Spirits on 
the other hand experience nothing of all this ; they receive the 
species at their creation, they forget nothing, are not subject to 
fatigue, and even if they are incapable of thinking of everything 
at once, they have nevertheless no difficulty in turning their 
thoughts towards whatever thing they please, however distant 
that thing may be, so that one may say with St Augustine that 
they see things that are far away as from the top of a mountain 
and so are wiser than man, who, like one who looks out through 
a chink in his prison, sees but little. 

The theologians therefore tend to represent the knowledge 
of angels somewhat after this fashion. "Let us imagine", they 
say, "that an angel has directed his attention on to the species 
of natural science. He can then not only read the main outlines 
which are revealed to ourselves through experience, but also all 
the details of geology, astronomy, botany, zoology, or of 

Occult Phenomena 1 7 

archaeology ... or of the animal kingdom. He not only 
recognizes the different kinds of living creatures, but also each 
individual one that exists, or that ever has existed within each 
kind, its individual attributes, modes of activity, etc.i All this 
seems clear enough. 

Even so there are limits beyond which the knowledge of 
spirits does not extend. Though they know the nature both of 
spiritual and material things, as also every thing towards which 
they direct their attention and which has actual existence, they 
seem, according to revelation, to be ignorant of all those things 
that are dependent on free will and which the other wishes to 
conceal from them, that is to say of the secret thoughts of others 
and of the undetermined future (Mat. 24. 36). The same is true 
of the sacred mysteries of religion. 

Pure spirits can associate with one another, which means that 
they can speak to each other and their manner of speaking is very 
simple. All that is needed is that a spirit "should be prepared to 
reveal its thoughts to another spirit, and that that other spirit 
should give its attention to them" (Lepicier, op. cit., 42). 
Notice that it is the nature of communications between spirits 
that is in question here — and the soul is a spirit. 

Although Catholic writers, following St Thomas, say much 
about the angelic intelligence, they say little of the angelic will, 
and this despite the fact that it is certainly one of the spiritual 
faculties. Let us therefore examine this angelic will a little more 
closely. First of all it is clear that the spirits have free will 
through which they can conform themselves to the will of God. 
The freedom is an active one — which means that they can act 
or refrain from action in any particular matter in regard to 
which the possibility of acting exists. Freedom therefore does 
not consist so much in the fact that an act can be performed 
when all the factors which would lead to such action are 
present, for this would apply equally to any physical or 
chemical cause. Rather does freedom consist strictly in being 
able to refrain from action, when action is possible. In so far as 
freedom consists primarily of a negative act, of a negation, that 
act can have its origin in the free will of the creature, for it is 
only all positive things that necessarily have their primal cause 
1 Lepicier, // mondo invisibile, p. 37. 

1 8 Occult Phenomena 

in God. Actually, however, pure spirits do not refrain from 
performing any act which God enjoins, although they have the 
abiUty to do so, but always willingly obey. 

One might well ask what is the origin of this willingness, and 
the answer is as follows. First of all such obedience is easy for 
them, it needs no effort, a fact which distinguishes them from 
ourselves. Further, the action takes place in an instant, so that 
there is never any lack of the time necessary to carry it out. 
Moreover, because of the goodness of God and of the good 
spirits, the whole effort of pure spirits is directed towards good, 
and an evil deed would be something that would be quite alien 
to a pure spirit's character. There are other reasons for this 
willingness that are adduced by the theologians, but we will 
not go into them here. 

When theologians deal with the powers of knowledge 
possessed by angels, they like to talk of something called 
"illumination", noopneustia, which represents "an act by 
means of which an angel of a higher order transmits a piece of 
knowledge concerning supernatural things to one of a lower 
order. This piece of knowledge will have first been received by 
the highest angel by way of divine revelation and will have 
been passed on by him to the inferior orders of angels in a form 
which the latter can understand" (Lepicier, op. cit., 39). An 
influence similar to that exercised on the intellect exists with 
regard to the will. The higher orders of angels and those 
nearest to God himself partake supernaturally in his holiness by 
conforming themselves as perfectly as possible to his will and 
then in their turn pass on this will by means of spiritual inspira- 
tion (the power of which we on this earth cannot conceive) to 
the other spirits. This noopneustic power strengthens all spirits 
in the love of God, so much so that a deviation therefrom is 
morally impossible, though the physical possibility of such a 
thing admittedly remains. 

The persistence in good of the spiritual will is strengthened 
by yet another angelic quality, by virtue of which a decision 
once taken remains firm and unchangeable. We ourselves fre- 
quently change our decisions, because they depend on motives 
the quality and wisdom of which we may come to reassess in the 
light of subsequent judgments and deeper insight ; we may in 

Occult Phenomena 19 

fact realize that we have erred. With spirits this does not happen. 
By reason of the species infused at their creation they im- 
mediately know the whole truth intuitively without error or 
imperfection. Their decisions are therefore unchangeable, which 
is what St Thomas teaches when he says (I, q. 64, a. 2) that the 
angelic intelligence apprehends first principles unchangeably, 
even as men do. From this follows also the obduracy of the evil 
spirits in so far as they are responsible, and it is this that makes 
their redemption impossible. With men those fixed ideas which 
so often trouble souls and which they cannot shake off are 
something very similar. (No attempt is made here to touch on 
the purely theological question whether this obduracy is due 
ultimately to a lack of God's saving grace.i) 

With the same readiness therefore as that with which pure 
spirits receive a piece of knowledge, they also receive a com- 
mand, when something is suggested to them by another spirit ; 
this capacity for being influenced is a very important principle, 
which can explain much to us, as we shall see in a moment. 

By all their obedience, however, and all their good works the 
angels acquire no merit whatever, nor do they earn for them- 
selves any higher glory as a just recompense for good works, for 
they are no longer in statu viae and can perform these works 
without any effort or difficulty. Merit only accrues where there 
is effort and sacrifice and to the spirits these things are 
unknown (cf St Thomas, I, q. 62, a. 9). 

The theologians treat of many other questions concerning 
spirits, of which only the following two need concern us for 
the present. 

A spirit is present at that point where its power and energy 
is made effective ; it cannot be in two places at once, nor, in so 
far as the categories of space and time are applicable at all to 
spirits, can two spirits occupy the same place. Of more import- 
ance to us here is the power of spirits over matter, a power by 
virtue of which they can move bodies, for since "a thing of a 
lower order is subject to the influence of a being of a higher 
order" (Lepicier, I, c. 68), spirits can move bodies and trans- 
port them from one place to another, can bring about inward 
changes in them both in regard to their substance and their 
1 Cf. Joh. Stufler, Die Heiligkeit Gottes und der ewige Tod, Innsbruck, 1903. 

20 Occult Phenomena 

accidents, though the degree of their ability to do this varies in 
accordance with their position in the spirit hierarchy. 

This power of the spirits extends to man, giving them 
influence over his body, as we see in cases of possession, over 
his senses, which are also a material element, and his imagina- 
tion, which in its turn guides his reason. Theologians, however, 
differ in their views of the manner in which his reason is 
influenced. Some lay stress on sensual images and on the 
imagination, while others are more inclined to think of direct 
illumination (noopneustia) of the kind that takes place between 
pure spirits. This latter opinion seems preferable. 

It is plain from all this that the spirits, both good and evil, 
are great and mighty beings — and indeed that is the way the 
Bible represents them to us, and this in its turn goes to show how 
mistaken it is to depict them as a child might fancy them, as 
things with a gay and slightly sentimental charm about them, 
though that is precisely what we all too often find in holy 
pictures and in the more degenerate forms of art. 



[We have studied briefly the characteristics of pure spirits as they 
have been described to us by theology, and somewhat later in this 
book we shall see that the characteristic mode of action of pure 
spirits bears a striking resemblance in its results to certain occult 
phenomena brought about by, or through the apparent instru- 
mentality of, human beings. Before drawing any inference from that, 
however, we can continue to proceed deductively, and, by drawing 
a more complete picture of the nature of pure spirits, gain by 
inference a fuller conception of the powers latent in the human 
soul. In this chapter we deal further with a pure spirit's mode of 
cognition and also with its manner of communicating with, and 
influencing, other spirits. We also observe two further character- 
istics of pure spirits, namely their immunity from forgetfulness and 
fatigue, characteristics which we shall later rediscover in the 
human subconscious.] 

WE HAVE already shown that the soul and the body con- 
stitute a single nature, a single substance which is man. 
We have also seen that it is a natural thing for the soul to be 
united to the body, since it is itself only an incomplete substance; 
this has as its result that, when separated from the body, the 
soul is continually moved by a desire for reunion with it, so 
that it may complete its substantiality. Nevertheless we know 
that after death it must live in separation from it until the 
resurrection of the body on the last day, and this state of the 
soul is connatural to it, since even while the state of separation 
obtains, the soul can engage in certain activities which we will 
now discuss. 

It is instructive to observe how those authors who ascribe all 
spiritualist and occult phenomena to the devil seem concerned 
to minimize the powers possessed by the soul when it has 
become separated from the body; they seem determined that 
this whole territory shall remain strictly reserved for the powers 
of evil which alone are assumed to be capable of these activities. 

22 Occult Phenomena 

We should therefore really submit the facts to a calm examina-i 
tion, and take note of what the masters have to tell us so tiiat 
we may attain clarity in this important question. Certainly it is 
misleading for Fr Lacroix to say^: "The soul, when separated 
from the body, has no power over the body", or when Alessio 
Lepicier continually speaks of an essential difference that exists 
between a spirit on the one hand and the soul that is freed from 
the body on the other. 

Admittedly the soul belongs to a different species of spirits 
than those to which the term spirit usually refers, but that is no 
reason for denying that it possesses any of the powers which 
usually belong to spirits, all the more so since according to 
some writers every angel belongs to a different species but all 
have the powers proper to spirits. Naturally, as an inferior 
spirit, the human soul possesses these advantages in a less 
degree than the angels, but in essence it does possess them in 
one form or another. 

It may now be objected that it is immaterial for us to know 
what powers the soul may possess when freed from the body, 
since in this life we invariably find it united to the body; we 
come across it, that is to say, under circumstances where these 
spiritual powers are necessarily fettered. Yet it is precisely in 
order that we may learn to know and appreciate better the 
faculties and powers of the human soul during its union with the 
body, that it is desirable to understand its spiritual powers 
generally — powers which the soul should never have lost, unless 
we assume, as some people do, that its union with the body is a 
form of punishment, powers which are identical — let us state this 
here and now — with the preternatural gifts given to man at the 
time of his creation. These powers were lost by man through sin, 
or were at best only retained by him in a feeble rudimentary form. 

In regard to these powers the following principle holds good. 
We must ascribe to the soul, when freed from the body, all the 
qualities that we have predicated of pure spirits, even though 
it may possess them in a lesser degree. So that there may be no 
misunderstanding in the matter, let it be explicitly stated that 
the soul is not a pure spirit in the same sense as we use that term 
of the angels, since it is an incomplete substance which was 

^ Espiritismo a luz da razao, p. 301. 

Occult Phenomena 23 

essentially created for union with the body. For all that, how- 
ever, it is a spiritual substance, though of course it is one 
dependent on matter, matter being a joint cause of the vegeta- 
tive and sensitive activities, and being in intellectual life a 
condition of its function, which means that even where the 
mind forms spiritual concepts, matter is the basis and point of 
departure of the abstraction. 

Yet as a spiritual substance the soul reaches out beyond 
matter, so that it survives and is active even after separation 
from the body. This activity can only be that of a spirit and of 
a pure spirit at that. It is only in this sense that the words "pure 
spirituality" or "pure spirit" are to be understood in what 
follows; it is not intended to imply that the soul as such is a 
pure spirit ; it is, to be perfectly accurate, a spiritual substance. 
Yet this spiritual substance, when separated from the body, 
cannot in its manner of acting behave otherwise than as a pure 
spirit. It must therefore possess a higher intelligence, the objects 
of which are non-material things, i.e. the purely spiritual nature 
of these things, their recognizable substance (St Thomas) that 
is separated from the body ; it therefore apprehends directly and 
intuitively everything that during its union with the body it 
apprehended imperfectly by means of abstractions ; it is merely 
debarred from those forms of activity which are dependent on 
the body such as the vegetative and sensitive life ; the intellectual 
Hfe, however, remains to it, since this is not inwardly dependent 
on the body. 

Thus, as St Thomas says, the soul can apprehend all things, 
happenings and acts which are "actual" [entiaactu). Admittedly 
this holy teacher asserts (4 Sent. d. 45, q. i, a. i ; q. 3c) that the 
souls cannot have knowledge of the happenings on this earth, 
though he gives a reason for this: Quia sanctorum animae 
perfectissime justitiae divinae conjunctae nee tristantur nee rebus 
viventium se ingerunt, nisi secundum quod justitiae dispositio exigit (I, 
q. 89, a. 8) — because the souls of the saints are perfectly united 
to the justice of God and so are neither made sad nor concern 
themselves with the affairs of the living except in so far as 
divine justice demands this. In this way this fact of non- 
apprehension is adequately explained, for nobody, not even the 
most perfect angel, can apprehend anything if God's command 

24 Occult Phenomena 

does not permit it ; ultimately it is the will of God that deter- 
mines whether they should have knowledge. 

Duns Scotus puts the matter thus i : Anima ergo separata potest 
acquirere notitiam non solum abstractivam sed etiam intuitivam, non 
solum sensibilium sicut postea [post resurrectionem) conjuncta, sed etiam 
quorumcumque intelligibilium proportionatorum et proportionaliter 
presentium; proportionatum autem est sibi quotquot intelligibile creatum. 
Ergo orationem viatorum sive vocalem quam et conjuncta potest nosse per 
sensus corporeos, sive mentalem, quae tunc erit sibi proportionata, potest 
tunc intuitive. The separated soul can not only acquire an 
abstractive but also an intuitive knowledge, and this not 
merely of all things that can be perceived by the senses (as is 
the case when it is reunited to the body after the resurrection) 
but also of all things that are intelligible and proportionate to 
itself and are present in a proportionate measure ; but all 
created intelligible things are proportionate to it. For this reason 
it can become aware intuitively of the prayers of those on the 
way, both of vocal prayer, which when joined to the body it 
can know through the bodily senses, and also of mental prayer, 
which will then have become proportioned to it. This is 
precisely my own contention. 

It might be held, as it seems to be held by St Thomas, that 
the saints in heaven, or the souls in purgatory, would be 
saddened if they knew what was happening in the world, but 
this is not the case, for such souls conform absolutely to the 
pattern of God's will and are content when they see the holy 
grounds of his actions. Certainly no theologian has found any 
difficulty in believing that the angels are aware of what is 
happening on earth. Why then should such difficulty arise in 
the case of the souls of the departed? :;| 

In order to possess such knowledge, souls must be possessed 
of certain means, namely of two kinds of species. There are first 
of all the species which are infused immediately after the soul's 
separation from the body, the species which the angels receive 
at the time of their creation, as things belonging to their nature. 
Then there are other species that derive from the time of the 
soul's union with the body, and are retained by it by virtue of 
that spiritual memory which, as part of its powers of knowledge, 
1 Opus Oxoniense 4, d. 45, q. 4, n 2. 

Occult Phenomena 25 

it retains after separation from the body. Through these species, 
which mutually strengthen one another, the knowledge that 
has been acquired becomes sufficiently clear, definite and 
perfect. The old knowledge, which derives from the ability to 
distinguish the general from the particular, combines with the 
infused species and so becomes more lofty and perfect, so that 
the soul's capacity for knowledge is much greater than before. 
This new form of knowledge comes easily to the soul. It is 
acquired, in so far as the soul acts as a pure spirit, by a simple 
act of the will. 

The spirit-soul neither tires nor forgets. Before separation 
from the body much knowledge had necessarily to sink into the 
subconscious by reason of the weakness of the bodily organs. 
Such knowledge in fact became unconscious knowledge, but 
was not lost. The soul's acts of knowledge, however, occur in 
an instant of time. Thus after separation from the body it sees 
as by a lightning flash whether it is or is not in a state of grace, 
it sees its Judge and the just grounds that must weigh with him, 
it sees its past life, the benefits it has received from God, the 
opportunities for good which it has used or failed to use, and 
in seeing all this, it judges itself, for it cannot appear before the 
face of God, nor does it desire to do so, so long as its sins have 
not been purged by penance. 

Souls that are released from their bodies can speak to one 
another. All that is needed is that one soul should have the will 
to communicate something to another and that that other 
should give its attention to the first. Such speaking is based on 
noopneustia, the nature of which can be dimly apprehended by 
us in its degenerate form of mental suggestion, and here theology 
gives us a certain basis for accepting the latter's possibility. 

Even so there are limits to what souls or indeed spirits in 
general can know. Anything dependent on a free act of the 
will, anything lying in the future that is undetermined, remains 
hidden from them, but there is nothing to prevent a human 
being from communicating to them the nature of such free acts, 
nor is there any reason why God should not by a special grace 
(prophecy) reveal the future to them. Whether God does this 
for pagans is disputed.! 

1 Cf. Friedlieb, Die sibyllinischen Biicher, 1852, and Nostradamus. 

26 Occult Phenomena 

If the faculties of the soul are the same as those of other 
spirits, we must assume that it has a power over bodies similar 
to that of the angels (St Thomas, I, q. 117, a. 4). It is true that 
St Thomas appears to say the opposite when he asserts that a 
limb separated from the body no longer obeys the spirit, 
naturali sua virtute (by reason of its natural power) , but the holy 
doctor here only refers to what usually happens in the case of a 
soul that is still fully united with the body, and says nothing of 
what could happen in exceptional circumstances when the soul 
is free of the body, and it is only this last with which we are 
here concerned. 

Incidentally such mutual influencing of one another by spirit 
and matter is continually taking place — even when we lift our 
hand. The act of the will is a spiritual thing and a physico- 
material action is carried out. Contrariwise when somebody 
speaks, sound waves are created which means that matter is 
set in motion, and this in its turn calls forth the spiritual 
activity of thought. This mutual influencing of one another on 
the part of matter and spirit is so familiar to us that we take it 
for granted. There is no new principle here that we need 
establish. Certainly there is a diflference between such mutual 
influencing when it occurs within a life-process and when it 
occurs outside of it. Yet we understand as little of the real nature 
of the thing in the one case as we do in the other. 

Modern medicine teaches us that our mental life influences 
our bodies — in neurosis, hysteria, compulsive actions and com- 
plexes, in psychotherapy and even in abnormal states. Here we 
have the influencing of matter by the spirit — admittedly by way 
of the bodily organs, but for all that the influence is a fact. 
From here to direct non-organic control is only a step. That is 
why theologians speak of such an influence over matter — for 
instance Heinrich {Dogmatik, X), Gutberlet {Katholik, 1901, 
II) and Lercher {Dogmatica, TV, p. 703). 

Souls in the next world can be influenced by material fire, 
which seems to suggest that a reverse process is possible. 

We can think of spiritual beings who have no kind of 
natural relation to any body. Such are the pure spirits, and 
in heaven the angels have precisely this character. Yet where 

Occult Phenomena 27 

the angels are concerned there is no reason for supposing that 
they cannot by means of their natural powers act directly 
upon material objects and move them from one place to 
another. If this were not so, then according to St Thomas any 
connection between the body and the world of the spirits 
would be impossible, for every influence upon the bodily 
world is connected with the movement of bodies from one 
place to another. As Aristotle teaches, such movement from 
place to place is the first of all movements and is connected 
with all bodily changes. Without the power to move bodies 
the spirits would have no power of putting themselves in 
touch with the physical world at all. Yet it would be un- 
natural if the orders of being that are subordinate one to the 
other, as the physical world is subordinate to the world of 
the spirit, were without the power to establish any con- 
nection with each other. St Thomas therefore concludes that 
by virtue of their natural powers the spirits of the next world 
are capable of moving bodies in this one.i 

All this applies equally to souls that are wholly free of the 
body and to those that are partly free, nor can we here speak of 
an actio in distans, since the spirits are present there where their 
will is effective (cf St Thomas III, Contr, gen., c. 103-107). To 
be absolutely accurate, St Thomas says (I, q. no, a. 3, ad 3) 
that angels can move material bodies, but that the power of the 
soul does not extend beyond its own body. I do not quarrel 
with this at all. St Thomas, however, is speaking of the soul in 
its normal state, when it is completely united to the body, not 
of the soul when it is partly separated from the body, for 
according to the measure of that separation it enjoys the powers 
of a pure spirit. 

It is in the light of all this that we can, among other things, 
explain the reappearance of the dead ; unhindered by the body 
the soul seeks to follow its natural connections and appears to 
persons who are closely connected with it. Dr Robert Klimsch 
{Leben die Toten ?) reports many such cases, while Emil Mattiesen 
in his three volumes Das Uberleben des Todes has collected a large 
number of well-authenticated cases of reappearance on the part 

1 Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, p. 73. 

28 Occult Phenomena 

of the dead, including some where an actual body was visible 
that could be seen by animals. 
An example from Schneider may be quoted here : 

A most remarkable and moving short story [he writes] is 
to be found in Sebastian Brunner's Woher? Wohin? Brunner 
received it directly from the mouth of the man to whom the 
incident happened. This last was a man called J. K. Weber, 
a pupil and a favourite of Bishop Sailer. He was at that time 
chaplain at Mittelberg im Allgau. It was a cold, stormy, 
winter day. Weber was seated at dinner with his parish priest 
when there entered to them a poor ragged boy who begged 
pitifully for alms. He was admitted and given food. He 
thanked them and wanted to go, but felt so weak and ill that 
he could not move from the place. Weber suggested that a 
room in which Capuchin monks used sometimes to pass the 
night should be put at the boy's disposal. The parish priest 
agreed, and Weber put the child to bed and called a doctor. 
The doctor declared that a violent fever was developing. 
The good chaplain nursed the child most lovingly, and when 
the fever abated, became more intimate with him. He 
learned that the lad had neither father nor mother and was 
wandering about the world without any one's being respon- 
sible for his welfare. He instructed him in the Faith and the 
boy showed himself very receptive and eagerly drank in the 
instruction that was given him, so that Weber had much joy 
in imparting it. The illness, however, grew to a raging fever 
which ended in the autumn with the boy's death. 

During the following winter Weber had to visit a sick 
person at a place an hour away from where he hved. It was 
night when he returned, and snow had fallen, covering the 
roads and making them unrecognizable. The priest lost his 
way. Suddenly there was the sound of a crack beneath him, 
and he found that he was in the middle of a frozen pond. The 
ice had broken and Weber sank up to half his height into the 
water and could find no ground beneath his feet. He vainly 
sought to save himself in this dangerous situation, and was 
giving himself up for lost when he suddenly saw a bright light. 
The boy whom he had nursed, and whose eyes he had closed, 


Occult Phenomena 29 

was floating in the air above him; he offered Weber his 
hand, drew him out of the water and brought him back to 
firm ground. Then with outstretched arm he pointed in the 
direction that Weber was to go, and disappeared. The 
rescued man followed the directions he had received and 
came safely home. Next morning he went out to the pond 
where he had been in such danger. His footsteps were visible 
in the snow. He saw the broken ice and found that it was at 
the deepest part of the pond. Brunner speaks of the profound 
impression that the event had made on Weber, as it did on 
himself when it was thus related to him.l 

(Other examples are cited below when the subject of ghosts is 
dealt with, p. 224.) 

Let us nevertheless draw attention again to the fact that these 
powers occur in a lower degree in human souls than in 
angels, since human souls are spirits of a lower order. Further, 
it should be noted that I am predicating these powers of the 
soul, not to furnish proof for the genuineness of apparitions of 
the dead at spiritualist seances, but to demonstrate stage by 
stage the powers of pure spirits, of souls that are freed from 
their bodies, and finally of the soul that is still joined to the 
body but in certain exceptional cases achieves a partial freedom 
therefrom, a state in which such acts as these are possible, at 
least in an imperfect form. 

Souls that are free from their bodies also resemble pure 
spirits in the matter of the will, particularly in the firmness of 
their decisions and in the matter of noopneustia. This influence 
which spirits can exert upon one another is immediate and 
direct, and arises from their character of pure spirits ; it is so 
great that theologians have sometimes been impelled to deny 
its existence, because they thought that by reason of it spirits 
would forfeit their character of free and independent beings. 
Fr Gredt, O.S.B., writes : 

This influence could only occur knowingly and deliberately. 
If therefore a created spirit could thus act on the under- 
standing (and on the will) of another, that other would be 
directly subject to the will of the first which could move its 

1 Der neuere Geisterglaube, p. 537. 

30 Occult Phenomena 

understanding and its will in any way it pleased. It is, he's 
ever, a contradiction to suppose that a being endowed witl 
understanding could thus be subjected to another creature| 

Even so there is nothing contradictory in the idea that in t 
spirit world, both in regard to illumination (see p. i8) and to 
movement (Lepicier, p. 53), there should be an ordered 
hierarchy, or that within that hierarchy the higher should 
continually influence the lower, for the result of this is that a 
great harmonious whole comes into being, one elevating the 
other rather than subjecting it, strengthening it, not enslaving 
but confirming and perfecting it. It really will not do to deny 
the existence of this power simply because it appears so over- 
whelmingly great ; if that power did not exist, all intercourse 
between spirits, all interchange of thought and communication 
of the will, such as there must be in an ordered multitude, 
would become impossible. The theologians definitely tell us 
that the angels speak, and it is a fact of much the same kind 
that the wills of spirits can be influenced. This explains many 
religious mysteries to us, it also explains a number of 
phenomena which we cannot understand in any other way — ■ 
telepathy, for instance, and other facts of the superconscious. 

1 Die aristotelisch-thomistiche Philosophie, I, 390. 



[One activity inhibits another, and precisely as an intensification 
of the vegetative Hfe of the soul impedes its other activities, so a 
diminution of that part of the soul's life that is connected with the 
body and the senses makes for greater activity on the part of the 
soul's purely spiritual element. Even when this last named process 
has not actually taken place, however, we find (a) that the soul 
does on occasion act after the manner of a pure spirit and that its 
will and understanding can be influenced otherwise than through 
the senses and otherwise than by the employment of concepts 
built on sense perception. 

There are, however, (b) abnormal states in which the life of the 
senses has been diminished, or cut out altogether, in which the life 
of the spiritual part of the soul is greatly intensified. In these it acts 
increasingly after the manner of a pure spirit, and can receive 
communications from other spirits, such, for instance, as the angels. 
The fact that, while in this state the soul may still make a limited 
use of concepts built up on sense perceptions does not alter the fact 
that its mode of behaviour is radically different from that which it 
practises in its normal state, and that in this abnormal state it acts 
wholly after the manner of a pure spirit. 

From time immemorial (c) men have been aware of these 
potentialities in the human soul. Plato and Aristotle knew of them, 
as did also such writers as Posidonius of Apameia, Plotinus and 
the Neoplatonists, and they are discussed by St Thomas. In more 
modern times Swedenborg aroused keen interest by his feats of 
clairvoyance, while Kant, Schopenhauer, Fichte and others all 
dealt with the phenomenon of extra-sensory modes of knowledge, 
Kant endeavouring to explain it through the essential oneness of 
the immaterial world. Today a host of writers have observed these 
things and sought to classify and explain them. It is the author's 
contention that all can be explained if we simply recognize the fact 
that the soul in certain circumstances acts as a pure spirit, 
remembering always that, according to theology, our first parents 
were endowed with the faculty of acting and knowing after this 
fashion, though these gifts were lost through original sin and now 
only survive in a rudimentary and vestigial form. 

All this makes it desirable that we should here examine (d) how 

32 Occult Phenomena 

actually the human soul is organized, and what is the exact relation- 
ship of this purely spiritual element with the other elements within 
it. Here the author follows Catholic teaching, according to which 
the soul is a unity with the body and is its form; nevertheless the 
soul is not wholly submerged in the body {non totaliter comprehensa) 
but reaches out beyond it. In other words there is a part of the 
soul that is, so to speak, not actually wedded to the body. Modern 
writers have tended to relegate this part of the soul (if one may thus 
employ — as of necessity one must — a purely spatial terminology) 
to the subconscious, and it is therefore necessary that we should 
here (e) briefly examine this concept. Such an examination reveals 
that though this concept, which has now been current for about 
half a century, is a useful ideological tool and a means of grouping 
certain phenomena, it is far from self-explanatory, and in the last 
resort we are driven to assume the existence of some carrying agent 
behind it.] 

WE HAVE now reached the point which is probably the 
most disputed of all, and which so far has not been 
examined as thoroughly as it deserves. Since, however, it is 
more or less the centre of this whole exposition, we must give 
it rather closer attention. 

We already know that when it is in its normal state, one 
intense activity of the soul impedes another ; for instance, when 
the vegetative life is strong, mental activity becomes weak and 
is difficult for those attempting to engage in it. But the converse 
of this is also true ; when the soul withdraws its activities from 
one field, its faculties become sharper in another. In blind 
people the sense of touch tends to be strongly developed, and 
the deaf often have sharper sight. The same thing takes place 
as the normal mental life becomes weaker in the various states 
of sleep when a certain dimming takes place in the sense 
perceptions. On these occasions a very abnormal mental life 
begins to develop that is peculiar to the state of the soul when 
half removed from the body. Let us call it the state of the partly 
body-free soul. To prove that the soul can indeed act after this 
fashion, and that it can thus dispense with the assistance of the 
senses, let us call the following to mind : 

(a) normal activity of the spirit-soul 

Certainly no Catholic theologian has till now expressed any 
doubt on the fact that the soul possesses the faculties of the 

Occult Phenomena 33 

body-free soul when it receives impressions and acquires 
knowledge without the help of the senses, as in the case of the 
efficacious graces whereby the understanding is directly 
illuminated or the will directly influenced. Nobody has yet 
suggested that such a direct influencing of the soul was contrary 
to the nature of man, or that it impaired the natural unity of 
soul and body. This immediate influencing of the soul is even 
more in evidence when we are dealing with the revelations 
which God vouchsafes from time to time to man and in which 
he speaks to man without any mediation of the senses. Deus 
etiam sine signis externis in homine producere potest speciem intelligibilem 
et quidem mediants phantasia vel immediate agendo in intellectum 
(Lercher, Dogmatica, I, p. 40) — God can produce acts of the 
understanding in man even without external signs and that 
through the imagination or by directly influencing the under- 
standing (noopneustia) . Locutio interna divina qua divina interdum 
ex ejus indole certissime cognosci potest ab illo, quem Deus alloquitur. 
Profecto nequit a priori Domino et Creatori negari facultas modo mere 
spirituali ita colloquendi cum anima humana, ut haec maxime certiorfiat 
se familiariter conversari cum Deo (I, c) — The inner speaking of 
God can with the greatest certainty be recognized as such by 
the person to whom it is addressed. For no one has the right 
arbitrarily to deny to our Lord and Creator the power to speak 
in purely spiritual fashion with the human soul (i.e. noopneusti- 
cally) and in such a fashion that the soul is quite certain that 
it is conversing intimately with God. God gives the infused 
species which man uses to perform his acts of knowledge. 
Locutio Dei per ministerium angelorum dicitur immediata; angelus enim 
ut purus spiritus et civis regni coelestis se tenet intra ordinem ipsius 
revelantis (I, c) — The speaking of God with the help of the angels 
is called direct speech; for the angel as a pure spirit and a 
citizen of the heavenly kingdom is accounted as being within 
the order of the revealer. God and the angels can therefore 
communicate with the human soul as with a pure spirit, that is 
to say noopneustically ; those therefore are in error who reject 
every such intercourse that takes place without the mediation 
of the senses as being contrary to human nature. 

Into this category also falls that synteresis which is generally 
accepted by the theologians, as also the knowledge of the 


34 Occult Phenomena 

immediately evident first principles of being (see p. 45 and 
Fr Viktor Cathrein, Einheit des Sittlichen Bewusstseins der Mensch- 
heii, Herder, 1914, III, p. 563 fF.). 

(b) abnormal activity of the spirit-soul 

These powers of the soul gradually pass over into abnormal 
activity. We find them in the exceptional graces of the true ; 
mystics, when the senses are stilled and the soul rests in the j 
contemplation of God and of the truths of the faith, and at | 
times receives new revelations — as occurred at Lourdes, Paray- 
le-Monial and elsewhere. In the case of the true mystics, at any j 
rate, the theologians assert this without any qualifications, and i 
in recent times this contention has been advanced with particular j 
force by Fr Mager in his various writings ; these last have now \ 
been gathered into a fine volume, Mystik als Lehre und Leben ' 
(Tyrolia, 1934), and in them the author speaks continually of j 
an activity which the soul exercises as a pure spirit while the ; 
life of the senses and of the body recedes. i 

If this is so, however [he says on p. 51], we must see in this 
curious behaviour the essential matter of the mystic life. 
Once we see this, we are possessed of the solution of all the 
most difficult problems with which the scientific treatment of 
mysticism has to contend. If Christianity from its earliest 
days, if indeed the whole tradition of the Church all testify 
to the fact that there is such a thing is an immediate experi- 
ence by the soul of the life of the spirit and of grace, then this 
is only psychologically possible or conceivable on the 
assumption that the soul can and does act as a pure spirit. 
There is no other way in which the testimony of the mystics 
can be explained that in their mystical experiences they have 
contemplated God and his attributes, the Holy Trinity and 
so on. 

The activity of the senses is cut out as though the soul were 
separated from the body (p. 167). In the mystical life we can 
observe how the soul separates itself by stages from the body ; 
this applies to its activities, not to its being (p. 170). This is 
like "the manner of knowledge of the souls in purgatory" 
(p. 210). 

Occult Phenomena 35 

It is not my intention to identify the phenomena of occultism 
with the mystical state that has been granted to certain persons 
Sas a special grace, but merely to demonstrate that the soul is 
capable of purely spiritual activities even while it is still joined 
:to the body. From this we may conclude that the residue of 
{such activity, or echoes of it, are part of the very nature of the 
spiritual soul and are to be found outside the mystical state, 
though only in exceptional conditions which bear, psycho- 
^ logically speaking, nothing more than a degenerate resemblance 
to the genuine mystical states described above. 

Among the mystical phenomena here under review we may 
include the speaking by God and the angels to men during 
sleep — as, for instance, in the case of St Joseph when he was 
commanded to flee to Egypt with his holy bride in order to save 
the divine Child from Herod. If the objection is now raised that 
in all these cases we have to deal with exceptional graces, we 
must admit that this is true. Nevertheless such things prove that 
this kind of communication can take place without human 
nature being thereby destroyed ; just as the infused virtues do not 
destroy those that have been acquired, and the supernatural 
does not destroy nature, so the preternatural does not infringe on 
the nature of man. It is not contended that it is usual for the 
soul thus to act in freedom from the body, or that the powers 
normally held enable it to do this, but merely that it does 
possess these purely spiritual faculties and can activate them in 
extraordinary cases. 

i There are writers who, while not denying the existence of 
these faculties, nevertheless put such a construction on them as 
to render their existence almost illusory. Let Fr Alessio Lepicier 
serve as an example. In his booki he treats quite correctly of 
the angels and their intercourse with one another, but then 
continues : 

This form of intercourse is also maintained when human 
beings communicate with pure spirits, for the body is no 
obstacle for the latter ; if therefore we desire to reveal our 
thoughts to an angel, the desire to do this suffices, so long as 
the angel directs his attention to us. The same cannot, how- 
ever, be said of the thoughts of angels in regard to human 
i // tnondo invisibile, p. 42. 

36 Occult Phenomena 

beings. Man cannot directly read the thoughts of angels, eve 
if these wished to reveal them to him. In this life there cat' 
be no act of knowledge without the mediation of materia 
images, which we speak of as acts of imagination by our spiri 
{Geistesvorstellungen) ; these produce specific alterations in oui; 
brain which correspond to the mental picture of the objec | 
we are to know (p. 150). { 

The author here asserts the contrary of dogmatic theology, 
according to which God and the angels can communicate with 
us directly. It is true that in his case the mistake would not dc 
very much harm, since he ascribes the power to the angels oi 
producing in the brain the necessary images, with the result | 
that they do communicate with the soul after all, though by ^ 
circuitous route. The difficulty increases, however, in cases; 
where body-free souls are conceived as seeking to communicate 
with us. They can communicate with the angels and with one' 
another, because in this respect they are Uke pure spirits, but^ 
they cannot communicate with living persons, since "they 
have no power over the images of our imagination" (p. 157) 
and cannot, like the angels, act on matter. 

Here one sees clearly how a mistaken theory can prevent 
people from recognizing the facts, the mistaken theory being 
in this case the insistence that the powers possessed by souls are 
less than those of spirits and the mistaken idea that even pure 
spirits can only communicate with us through the medium of 
matter, that is to say, by means of material stimuli. Moreover 
once a man has got on the wrong road, the conclusions he draws 
deviate ever more widely from truth, so that this writer is 
ultimately driven to call on the aid of the devil. When asked i 
whether we can communicate our thoughts to body-free souls, 
the learned Servite answers "No", although he had previously 
answered that we could communicate them to the angels. With 
the latter he admits the possibility of a purely spiritual inter- 
course, but he does not admit that possibility with souls — 
neither by means of signs, "for souls have no knowledge of the 
sensual phenomena of this world" (p. 158), nor spiritually, 
since our thoughts are accompanied by cerebral modifications, 
which mean nothing to body-free souls, "because they lack the 

Occult Phenomena 37 

■key, that is to say, the consent of our will" (p. 162). If we ask 
' whether the consent of our will is not always the key when we 
will to communicate something, we receive no reply. 

Here we see into what difficulties authors get when they first 
belittle the capacities of the soul, then seek to explain all the 
i communications it may receive in purely material terms to 
I which they then say the key is missing. They first of all get on 
i a wrong road and then have only verbiage left with which to 
I circumvent the truth when a critic touches the delicate kernel 
of the matter. 

There are other authors who also only go half-way. Thus, for 

I instance. Professor Fischl insists that for every act of knowledge 

[the "gateway of the senses is indispensable",! and cites St 

Thomas in support of his view (I, q. 89, a. i) : "So long as the 

soul is united with the body, it cannot form a single thought 

except by turning to its mental images", and he continues : 

According to such a view a direct contact of soul with soul 
of the kind Hans Driesch assumes in the case of clairvoyance 
is impossible. Any such action upon the soul of ideas in the 
Platonic sense, or any irradiation of spiritual ideas in the 
sense of St Augustine by the divine light, is wholly without 
confirmation by experience, and is therefore fundamentally 
rejected by such sober thinkers as Aristotle and Thomas 

However, a more careful study of St Thomas will show us 
that the matter is not quite so simple. First of all the text 
quoted above is somewhat inaccurately expounded ; what St 
Thomas says is that, in so far as it is united with the body, the 
soul can form no thought except with the aid of the mental 
pictures created by the imagination: Animae secundum istum 
modum essendi quo corpori est unita competit modus intelligendi per 
conversionem ad phantasmata corporum. . . . But he also indicates in 
q. 76 (a. I, ad 4) that the soul is not a form of the body that can 
be completely submerged in matter, and that because of its 
perfection ; there is therefore nothing that stands in the way of 
certain of its faculties not being acts of the body. This is 
elaborated in greater detail in q. 86 to the effect that the soul 
1 Christliche Weltanschauung und die Probleme der ^eit, Graz, 1941, p. 217. 

38 Occult Phenomena 1 

can in particular more easily apprehend universal truths 
and spiritual causes when it frees itself more from the senses. 
From this it is plain that in the normal way an action "from 
soul to soul" may well be impossible but that exceptional con- 
ditions may occur in which the activity of the soul is more or 
less free of the senses and becomes purely spiritual. In such 
circumstances the soul becomes capable of extraordinary per- ' 
formances, though such feats need in no wise be accounted a 
miracle from God. 

Whether such knowledge comes by means of imaginative , 
mental images or not is irrelevant ; probably it does, as in the 
case of concepts and words. These are figurative and transferred, 
such as one must use when he wishes to form images of the 
supersensual which eludes all imagery. In particular he is under 
the necessity of clothing divine revelations in images which do 
not fully express the matter they contain, since omnis comparatio , 
claudicat (all comparison is deficient). It is the same with the 
mental images conjured up by the imagination ; these too are 
borrowings from sensual perception and perhaps do not go to 
the root of the matter. For it is all too true that our knowledge 
becomes dim and indistinct in proportion to the paucity of ij 
perceptual images that accompany it, but we must not reject 
these because of their insufficiency or because of the difficulty 
we experience in making them convey spiritual truths ; indeed, 
as we have seen, St Thomas speaks of the matter in very definite 

Moreover it is not necessary for the attaining to direct 
spiritual knowledge that we should reject imaginative mental 
pictures altogether. Driesch does not do this when he speaks of 
communications "taking place from soul to soul" for even 
where the impulse to an act of knowledge is purely spiritual, the 
soul, in order to obey the impulse, can hark back to the images 
that it has built up out of sensual experience, and with them 
give expression to something purely spiritual. That is why, as 
has already been noted, these acts of knowledge always have 
something dim, vague and symbolic about them. Let us freely 
admit that it is only of things that are sensually perceptible that 
we can form exact concepts, and that when dealing with things 
supersensual we can only form concepts that are really not 

Occult Phenomena 39 

proper to them ; when, however, we leave the normal roads to 
knowledge, it becomes still more difficult. Here such knowledge 
becomes still less adequate to its object, yet not absolutely 
impossible. All experience of clairvoyance confirms the view 
at which we have here arrived by pure theory. 

Other writers again who admit such direct communication 
between souls, explain it in material terms, that is, by means of 
certain material waves. Such men fail equally to do justice to 
the facts. Fr Heredia (0 Espiritismo e ton senso) is a case in 
point, although this author is the most progressive and intelligent 
of all. The same applies to W. Schneider, Fr Donat, Feldmann, 
Malfatti and others, the one exception being Fr Mager, O.S.B. 

I have dwelt on these matters because this is the central point 
of my thesis and I therefore wish to be particularly clear. People 
have forgotten that the soul is a spirit and that it does not cease 
to be a spirit even when it is united to the body, and that it 
requires no material connecting links (radiations) for its 


As proof that the opinion here expressed is correct, we can 
adduce the names of many learned men from the philosophy 
and spiritual erudition of the past who in some cases speak 
specifically of direct activity on the part of the spirit-soul and 
in others suspect the existence of this activity but cannot see 
the truth clearly enough because of faulty philosophical 
assumptions — though the facts before them should have driven 
them to the correct conclusion. The fact that this conviction has 
been so generally spread among men is itself a ground of con- 
gruence for the theological thesis. There have always been men 
who have been accounted as seers and have performed extra- 
ordinary feats, which seemed to go beyond ordinary human 
powers. Since these things were undoubtedly facts, the philo- 
sophers were under the necessity of explaining them, and they 
sought to do this in a number of books which they wrote on 
dreams, visionary powers and magic. In these we can today 
discern a certain kernel of truth, though it is enclosed in the 

40 Occult Phenomena -, 

philosophies and general opinions of the time, and this becomes 
increasingly apparent if we regard the whole matter in the light 
of Christian philosophy. 

Thus Plato tells in his Phaedrus how men "through divine 
madness become partakers of true prophecy" and can foretell 
the future correctly at the oracles of Delphi and Dodona ; also 
in the Republic he speaks of true dreams coming in the state of 
sleep, when the soul has loosened its connection with the body 
and can cast glances into the future. In his book concerning 
prophecy in dreams he seems already to assume the existence 
of telepathy. 

In the same way Aristotle knows of an exalted state of the 
soul in sleep, in which it withdraws into its own nature and has 
power over the future, l 

Somewhat later the Stoic Posidonius of Apameia (135-51 
B.C.) in his book on prophecy (in Nestle, Die Jiachsokratiker, II, 
Jena, 1923, p. 63) says this: 

There is, however, yet another method of prophecy that 
proceeds from nature ; this proves how great is the power of 
the spirit, when it has been released from the sensual organs 
of the body. This occurs especially in sleep and in ecstasy. 
For as each of the gods knows what the other is thinking 
without the mediation of eye, ear or tongue — which is why 
men do not doubt that the gods hear them if they only make 
a silent wish or vow — so also the souls of men, when they are 
sunk in sleep and loosed from the body or when rapt in 
ecstasy and wholly free from their appetites, are thrown back 
upon themselves, behold things which, while bound to the 
body, the soul cannot see. But when the soul is in sleep 
released from its connection and contact with the body, it 
remembers the past, sees the present and can contemplate the 
future. The body of the sleeper then lies there as one dead, 
but the soul lives in the fullness of its power. This is much 
more true after death when it has completely left the body. 
That is why at the approach of death its divinity (= spiritu- 
ality) is shown forth in a still higher degree, for men who are 
sick unto death see the approach of death, so that images of 

1 Gf. Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, p. 169. 

Occult Phenomena 41 

the dead appear to them, and it is just in that moment that 
they seek to be recognized for what they are, and those who 
have Hved otherwise than they ought to have Hved, now more 
than ever repent of their faults. In its condition of waking 
the human spirit is the slave of the needs of life, it is bound 
by the fetters of the body and separates itself from com- 
munion with the divine ( = the spiritual). ... In three ways 
human beings are vouchsafed certain dim forms of knowledge 
at the instigation of the divine. The first is when the spirit 
itself foresees a certain thing because it is under the spell of a 
divine relationship, the second kind derives from the fact that 
the air is full of immortal soul-spirits upon whom, so to speak, 
clear indications of the truth are perceptible ; the third kind 
occurs when the gods themselves speak with the sleeper. 

Rarely indeed did a philosopher in the time that was to come see 
as clearly as Posidonius saw one hundred years before Christ, 
even though everything he says is still coloured by the views of 
his age. 

Eudemos says in his work on prophecy: "The (lower) soul is 
indeed not immortal, but partakes of the divine in ecstasy and 
in dreams." The Delphic high priest Plutarch (d. 120 a.d.) 
declares the daimonion to be the guardian spirit which, unlike 
the soul, is not completely united to the body, but reaches out 
beyond it and sometimes loosens its connection with it to wander 
abroad and communicate immediately with gods and spirits, 
whence it derives the gift of prophecy. This daimonion is our 

Somewhat later the Stoic Artemidorus (135-200 a.d.) de- 
clares in his book Oneira Kritica that the word oneiros signifies 
"declaring what is", which implies that the very word itself 
conveys the meaning of dreaming the truth, a faculty which the 
body-free soul attains — Philo also accounted clairvoyance as 
among the special powers of the human spirit. 

What was vaguely perceived by these philosophers was 
brought to its conclusion and rounded off' in Neoplatonism, for 
Neoplatonism, following straight along the line of Plato's 
doctrine of ideas, made eflforts to contemplate the spiritual, and 
this in its turn postulated a receding of the body and the senses. 

42 Occult Phenomena 

We have no reason for doubting Plotinus when he tells us that 
he contrived four times to attain to this state : 

Always when I awake out of my body into myself, I leave all 
else behind me and enter into myself. Then I see a most 
wonderful and powerful beauty and am confident in such 
moments that I belong to a higher region ; the highest form 
of life then becomes a reality, I am one with the divine and 
rest on that foundation, for I have attained the higher reality 
and have taken my stand above all else that is spiritual. 
After thus standing still in the divine, when I then step down 
out of the spirit into reflection, then I must always ask 
myself: "How is it possible for me thus to descend ? And how 
is it possible for my soul to have its habitation within my 
body, seeing that this same soul, despite its sojourn within 
my body has, even now, when it was wholly alone and by 
itself, shown me its higher nature?"! 

When the body had withdrawn itself, the soul could function 
as a pure spirit, could contemplate God, and apprehend truths 
to which others were blind, could prophecy, experience second 
sight and act upon material things, as is the nature of pure 
spirits. This corresponds with the views of all Neoplatonists such 
as Philo, Porphyrins, lamblichus, Proclus. All these ascribed 
second sight, true dreams, and apparitions to the special powers 
of the human soul. Indeed this is the consistent teaching of 
antiquity, and it was from this starting point that Christian 
writers such as Tertullian, Augustine and Gregory the Great 
proceeded, though in the time that followed the doctrine was 
more and more allowed to lapse into obHvion ; a confused belief 
in demons and magic took its place. 

In the Middle Ages it was the leading figures of scholasticism 
who sought to escape from the clutches of a wild belief in 
demons, as, for instance, St Thomas, who, as already mentioned, 
speaks in his Summa Theologica (I, q. 86, a. 4) of the soul's power 
of clairvoyance and states that the soul becomes free in sleep, 
or when the mind is disturbed and in general when there is the 
maximum of detachment from the senses. {Hujusmodi autem 
impressiones spiritualium causarum magis nata est anima humana 
1 From Richard Harder's German rendering. 

Occult Phenomena 43 

suscipere, cum a sensibus alienatur; quia per hoc propinquior Jit 
substantiis spiritualibus et magis libera ab exterioribus inquietudinibus .) 

In much the same fashion that St Thomas speaks of the 
higher powers of the soul when it is partly freed from the body, 
Roger Bacon (d. 1294) speaks of the influencing of souls for the 
purpose of healing disease, and does so in a manner that 
suggests the methods of Coue. Mystics like Bonaventure and 
Meister Eckehart, however, incline to give supernatural 
explanations when dealing with exceptional states of the soul. 

Men in later times were well acquainted with the existence of 
such states, but did not seem inclined to seek a preternatural 
explanation for them. Thus Abbot Johann Tritheim (d. 15 16) 
once says in one of his letters : "I am able to communicate my 
thoughts to one a hundred miles away, who knows this art, and 
to do so without writing, words or signs; I do not need a 
messenger at all. It can be made as clear and explicit as may be 
required, and that by natural means without the aid of spirits 
or any other kind of superstition." 

^ In his explanations he identifies his views with those of his 
contemporary, Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim (d. 1535), 
who in his work De Occulta Philosophia ascribes all this to certain 
"sympathetic powers" which cause like to be drawn to like 
and unlikes to repel each other, and which are supposed to 
explain everything that cannot be explained in any other way. 

Tritheim's pupil, Aureolus Paracelsus, is more specific when 
he informs the world that many a supposed piece of witchcraft 
was really something perfectly natural : 

It is possible for my spirit without help from my body, 
without a sword but by a fervent word alone, to stab and 
wound another. Similarly it is also possible for me to bring 
the spirit of an adversary within an image and then to cripple 
or lame him according to my pleasure. You should know that 
the operation of the will is an important point in medicine. 
By this means one can do harm by cursing both to man and 
beast, causing illness, and this does not take place by means 
of virgin wax or inscriptions, but the imagination alone is the 
means of accomplishing one's will. It is a mighty thing where 
the human mind is concerned. 1 

1 Schneider, Der neuere Geisterglaube, p. 452. 


44 Occult Phenomena 

The physician and natural philosopher von Helmont declares 
with a touch of inspiration : 

That magical power lies hidden in the inward part of man ; 
it sleeps and moves within us after the manner of a drunkard ; 
it has been put to sleep through sin; that is why we must 
reawaken it ; for in the inward part of man, in the kingdom 
of the soul there is the kingdom of God, and that secret 
power which enables us to act outside ourselves at will and 
to communicate a similar power to others, a power that can 
act on the most distant objects. . . . If therefore this power has 
been shown to be a natural one, it was absurd to beUeve till 
now that the devil was concerned in the matter . . . the power 
that is hidden in man is an ecstatic one that does not operate 
unless it has been awakened by the imagination, which in its 
turn must be kindled by a burning desire; it is a spiritual 
power . . . which proceeds from man himself as a spark comes 
out of the flint [op. cit., 453). 

Something of this kind seems to be perceived by those authors 
who speak of a dual personality and of a magical ego, as do 
Baader, Flammarion, Daumer, Wipprecht: "The faculties that 
have been lost in our struggle for existence are still present in 
our subconscious." ^ 

In 1848 E. Freiherr von Feuchtersleben published a book that 
was frequently republished, called -^wr Didtetik der Seele {Con- 
cerning the Dietetics of the Soul), in which he cites the most 
numerous examples of the power of the soul over the body, all 
of which serve to make the latter's essentially spiritual nature 
plain. A pupil of Boerhave's went through all the diseases which 
his instructor described in the lecture hall; "ultimately he was 
compelled to abandon his studies, which would have ' studied ' 
him into his grave". Doctors tell of ailing women who during a 
time when they feel too weak to move across a room find no 
difficulty in waltzing through half the night with a favoured 
dancer; the mute son of Croesus cried out when he saw the 
drawn sword of his father's enemy hanging over that father's 
head; "Man, do not kill Croesus!" etc. We thus see that for 

1 Staudenmaier, Versuch einer Experimentalmagie, p. 366. 

Occult Phenomena 45 

centuries there has been an awareness of the fact that there were 
other modes of cognition than the purely rational. 

Now scholastic philosophy had spoken of knowledge and will 
as the two fundamental faculties of the soul, but there came a 
time when men began to add something else to these, the thing 
we call "feeling". But what exactly is feeling? P.J. Donat, S.J. 
[Psychologia, p. 257) , answers the question as follows : " The some- 
what vague expression 'feeling' denotes quite frequently an act 
of our conative powers and often also a sense perception ; yet 
it can, in addition, refer to a dim awareness on the part of our 
understanding ". Mercier, too,i struggles hard to find a definition 
of feeling "whose principle is the imagination" but which 
"is rooted in the conative powers" — and which in actual fact 
represents the uprising of the purely spiritual will and of purely 
spiritual memory out of the subconscious; for it is in this 
manner that we apprehend the supreme principles of morals and 
of thought (synteresis) , it is thus that we obtain the "natural 
certainty" in aesthetics, and it is thus that we become aware 
of knowledge and experience gained in the past; ^^und wecket 
der dunklen Gefuhle Gewalt die im Herzen wunderbar schliefen". 

This is also what the philosopher Friederich Heinrich Jacobi 
(d. 1 819) really seems to have had at the back of his mind 
when he spoke of "feeling" and "heart". "Man learns to 
know the good directly from the heart and in no other way" 
[was gut ist sagt dem Menschen unmittelbar und allein das Herz) .^ 

Let us examine the matter under a slightly different aspect. 
Every body of knowledge rests on certain principles or "pre- 
judgments", postulates, as Kant called them, which are self- 
evident and on which we build. Scholastic philosophy called 
them synteresis (synteresis: avvr7]p€co = to preserve together). 
They imply a knowledge given to us by nature of the governing 
principles of morals and philosophy. The knowledge rests in the 
soul, and, as St Thomas clearly shows (I, q. 79, a. 12), does not 
require any new radical power in the soul. Nevertheless there 
is still one question to answer, and it is a question which the 
schoolmen never posed — how does the human mind come to 
possess this knowledge ? 

Yet the answer to that question is not so very far to seek. 
1 Psychologic, II, p, 180. 2 Works, V, 115. 

46 Occult Phenomena 

Professor Raymond Paniker of Madrid has shown in an 
exquisitely reasoned enquiry 1 that this same "feeling" is nothing 
less than a direct contemplation of truth. It is the thing that 
Bergson called "super-rational intuition": Dilthey, "intuitive 
experience", Keyserling, "irrational and mystical imagina- 
tion"; Husserl, "direct contemplation of being"; Scheler, 
"direct experience of feeling and love" ; Volket, "intuitive and 
super-logical grasp of the outer world"; Roland Gosselin, 
"direct sight"; Maritain, "abstractive intuition"; Jolivet, 
"rational intuition", etc. 

Jacobi felt the insufficiency of intellectualism,^ because the 
facts pointed everywhere to knowledge that did not derive from 
any form of direct apprehension and could not be traced back 
to exact perceptions of the senses and intellect. It was a form 
of knowledge given us directly with our nature. Kant certainly 
went too far with his "innate forms of sensual perception" his 
"forms of knowledge of the reason and the understanding," and 
was justly criticized and refuted on this account. But there is 
still a residuum, as is admitted by the schoolmen and by 
Catholic theology in general, and the existence of that residuum 
must be taken as self-evident and as based on this indefinable 
element called feeling — so much so that the theologian can 
write : "Feeling, that is to say 'Gemiit' (which can be loosely 
translated 'sentiment' but for which the English tongue has 
no exact equivalent), is fundamentally nothing other than the 
first dawning of the soul and the first intimation of its existence 
as a pure spirit" (Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 171). 

Consideration of such super-rational and intuitive modes of 
knowledge necessarily leads to a discussion of the powers 
possessed in high degree by certain individuals, powers which 
enable them to have cognizance of events taking place at a 
distance and to know what is passing in the minds of others 
and to do this wholly without any mediation on the part of 
the senses. Swedenborg, who was perhaps the most important 
"ghost-seer" of modern times, had great influence on his age 
and was the cause of considerable speculation on this subject. 

1 " F. H. Jacobi y la Filosofia del Sentimiento ", Revista Sapientia, La Plata- 
Buenos Aires, 1948. 

2 See Bishop Prohaszka in Hochland, 19 10, II, pp. 385 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 47 

Kant, though he ridiculed Swedenborg's adherents, showed in 
his Dreams of a Ghost-Seer how keenly his interest in this field had 
been aroused and that he too felt the need for some kind of an 
explanation. Kant believed in the direct communication between 
one soul and another on the ground that the immaterial world 
was a single whole. Thus immaterial beings were able to act 
directly on one another without the mediation of matter. 
Indeed where this latter circumstance obtained, it should be 
treated as fortuitous and incidental, nor does the fact that they 
may use material means to act upon one another mean that 
they do not have, in addition, a continuous interconnection of 
a different kind through which they mutually influence one 
another. "It will one day be proved, I do not know when or 
where, that even in this life the human soul stands in indis- 
soluble connection with all immaterial beings of the spirit 
world, that it both acts on these and receives impressions from 
them, of which it is not conscious as a human being so long as 
all goes well" — that is to say, so long as the soul is not in an 
exceptional state. 

Schopenhauer 1 assumes in his Essay on Ghost-Seeing the 
existence of a special dream organ which is supposed to make 
true dreams possible ; these last only differ from ordinary dreams 
in the matter of degree. The whole thing, however, is said to be 
explicable purely psychologically and in terms of the will. 

This brings us right down to modern times, and even in these 
the idea of a direct communication between souls, though these 
may still be united to the body, refuses to leave mankind, sunk 
though mankind may now be in monism and materialism. This 
last causes them to seek explanations, which are often tortuous 
and forced, but accord with their philosophical preconcep- 

Eduard von Hartmann, the philosopher of the unconscious, 
has written a special book on Spiritualism, in which he expresses 
his conviction that "there are more powers and faculties in the 
human organism than our present exact sciences have contrived 
to discover or explain". He calls the psychic power which 
mediums display in a state of trance, a power which often trans- 
forms itself into physico-physiological formations proceeding 

1 In Parerga und Paralipotnena. 

48 Occult Phenomena 

from the nerve power of the brain, the umbilical cord which 
binds every creature to the all-mother nature. "If all indivi- 
duals of a higher order have their roots in the absolute, then 
they have in this, at one further remove, a connection with one 
another, and all that is necessary is that an intensive interest 
on the part of the will should estabhsh the 'rapport' or tele- 
phonic connection in the absolute between any two such 
individuals, for the unconscious spiritual interchange of thought 
to be established between them without any mediation by the 
senses" (p. 78). 

A somewhat similar explanation is given by Immanuel 
Hermann Fichte (d. 1879) of the transference of thought. This 
takes place because the active life of the senses disappears in 
certain organic conditions of the body and the "vision" of the 
spirit is thus freed from its fetters. The background which till 
then had been hidden, an unconscious or preconscious some- 
thing wakens into life ; it is then that the individual spirit can 
be influenced in what is actually a quite natural way by a being 
similar to or higher than itself l Other philosophers who have 
concerned themselves with this subject speak in a similar vein. 
Dr Friedrich Zur Bonsen, a high-school teacher, writes that the 
soul, even in this life — while it is still united to the body, that 
is to say — can attain a state of partial freedom from the body, 
in which to a greater or a lesser degree it is endowed with the 
faculties of a pure spirit and so can perform abnormal feats 
(see below, p. 116). 

Dr Bruno Podlasky, an Evangelical pastor of Garstedt, 
Hamburg, writes in his review of the first edition of this book : 
"To me as a Protestant the fundamental idea is both note- 
worthy and surprising, that not all the faculties of the soul were 
lost in the Fall, but that a 'Paradisal residue' remains. This 
thesis recalls the views of E. Dacque concerning man's original 
faculty of seeing into the nature of things {Natursichtigkeit) which 
throws light on occult faculties and phenomena." When I wrote 
to him that I could not accept Dacque's views, he replied that 
these might perhaps not accord with what we know of the 
human spirit, but he was glad to believe that something other 
than evil could still be attributed to man after his fall, namely 

1 See Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, p. 88. 

Occult Phenomena 49 

this same "Paradisal residue", from which there might well 
' flow prophecy, the possibility of love, of sacrifice, etc. 

I myself follow up this idea to its ultimate limits and draw 
the final logical conclusions from it. In addition to the proofs 
already adduced, I can refer to theologians who have seen the 
truth of at least part of my contention. Fr Heredia l seeks to 
explain the phenomena of spiritualism by telepathy, that is to 
say, through "the fact that the spirit of one man can com- 
municate with the spirit of another", although he gives a 
materialist explanation of such communication, as was shown 

Hans Driesch^ comes very near to my own view. He sets up 
a mental parapsychic theory which only takes account of the 
souls of the living (p. 113). Admittedly his theory is incomplete. 
Animism must be exploded when "no living person remains 
who knows anything of the content of knowledge" (p. 121). I 
myself declared this above, but Driesch did not go so far. 

Let us here especially note the views of Charles Richet^ who 
applies the term parapsychology to that science "which has as 
its subject mechanical and psychological phenomena which are 
called into being by apparently intelligent forces, or by 
unknown powers lying dormant in the human intelligence". 
Richet is also one of those who believe that there are powers of 
knowledge of another kind than our ordinary ones, and that 
there are movements of objects in ways other than those to 
which we are accustomed. In regard to the explanation of these 
phenomena he distinguishes five periods, the mythical one 
(going up to Mesmer, 1778), the magnetic one (up to Fox, 
1847), the spiritualist one (up to Crookes, 1872), the scientific 
one, represented in particular by the Society for Psychical 
Research. He himself would like to open the classical period in 
which spiritual powers are assumed in man which he, Richet, 
does not wish to define because he does not know them (p. 486). 
Occultism will ultimately develop into parapsychology much as 
chemistry developed from alchemy. It seems then that the 
intimations of men of science have tended to move in this 

1 Espiritismo e bom senso, p. 160. ^ Parapsychologie, Munich, 1932. 

3 Richet, Outline of Parapsychology. 

50 Occult Phenomena 

If we listen to what the mediums themselves have to say 
concerning their art, we find that they are unanimous in their 
opinion. Once the phantom Katy King (or more correctly, 
Florence Cook) was asked by the physician Dr Gully whether 
it could give any explanation of its powers ; it answered : 
" What people say about electricity is all nonsense. . . . The 
origin of the phenomena is the power of the will." i Similar 
views are expressed by those theorists who, at least in part, 
accept the animist theory — men such as Aksakow, Bruno 
Schindler and Maximilian Perty. According to Aksakow the 
soul can, in certain people, perform feats which reach out 
beyond the periphery of the human body. It does this by 
reason of laws which so far are unknown to us. According to 
this view the anima, conceived as Plato conceived of it, as an 
independent substance wholly different from the physiology of 
the body, is the sole and ultimate cause of telepathy. 2 Later he 
returned to spiritualism. It is said of Hieronymus Cardanus that 
he could deliberately put himself into an ecstatic state "in 
which he experienced the feeling of separation from the body : 
he felt as though a door was being opened and he was leaving 
his own self. . . and entering the realm of the spirits ".3 

Many authors seem at least to have had intimations of the 
theory expounded here by the present writer. Thus, for instance, 
Bishop Schneider^ says : 

There are a number of instances of exhibitions of power 
which are supposedly of a magical nature, but which like 
certain abnormal phenomena connected with sleep and 
dreams, can be referred to a heightened activity of the inner 
sense . . . and instinct. If science were capable of giving a 
truly accurate account of the nature of sleep, dreams, sleep- 
walking and so on, other obscure phenomena of our spiritual 
life, in particular the trances of spiritualist mediums, would 
be powerfully illuminated. The soul itself as a living substance 
and as an active reality can never rest. If the functions of the 
outward senses are inhibited, then the inner sense develops 
all the livelier an activity ... a healing instinct that is very 
greatly heightened in deep sleep as in the temple sleep of the 

1 Schneider, Der mmre Geisterglaube, p. 176. 2 Feldmann, op. cit., p. 85. 
3 Schneider, op. cit., p. 486. '^ Der neuere Geisterglaube, p. 488. 

Occult Phenomena 5 1 

Egyptians and the Greeks . . ., a heightened faculty of per- 
ception . . ., an abihty to apprehend more widely in regard 
to space and time . . ., hidden regions of the spirit are opened 
up and the soul delves into unknown depths, etc. 

Feldmann 1 voices a similar view : 

What is remarkable is that these occult processes seem to 
take place between comparatively few people and are 
facilitated if they have their starting point in the unconscious 
part of the transmitter's psychological life and are received by 
the subconscious of the recipient. Actual mediums, when they 
receive telepathic influences, are normally in a state of trance 
— ^which means that the ordinary waking conscious life has 
been partly or wholly suspended. The full waking conscious- 
ness seems to be a positive obstacle to telepathic communica- 
tions. This would explain why we are markedly susceptible 
to these things in dreams and under hypnosis, a fact which . . . 
has been observed over thousands of years. 

It is with a view to illuminating this same fact that has been 
observed for thousands of years and bringing it into harmony 
with theology that I have introduced the concept of the partly 
body-free soul. There are many who have experienced a real 
sense of relief when this idea has been put before them, if, as 
is so often the case, they have hitherto been confronted with an 
ever-growing and infinitely varied body of phenomena which 
admitted of no natural explanation and which they have been 
instinctively reluctant to ascribe to the devil. "A whole cargo 
load of mysticism and of nonsense about spirits has now been 
jettisoned as a result of this discovery (of purely spiritual 
activity). Imagination has taken the place of supposedly 
magical power and the influence of an alien spirit has proved 
itself to be nothing more than the fantasy oif our own. The 
phenomenon of 'long-distance magnetization', which had 
previously set us marvelling, has wholly ceased to be a mystery ".2 
This same Wilhelm Schneider dwells particularly on the cases 
of dying persons, from whom the soul was beginning to separate 
itself and who were thus able to attain to certain kinds of 

1 Okkulte Philosophie, p. 119. 

2 Schneider, op. cit., p. 117; Das andere Leben^ 1919- 

52 Occult Phenomena 

knowledge which they had often striven for — though that know- 
ledge now came too late. Mohler said before his death: "Ah, 
now I have seen it, now I know ; now I would gladly write a 
book, but now it's all over." 

Something of this kind is also indicated by the French 
physician Lauvergne (in Daumer's The Kingdom of the Wonderful 
and Mysterious, 1872, p. 298) : 

I have known people to whom the hour of death, which 
reveals so many things, brought a divine illumination about 
things which till then had been obscure to them. They 
claimed that they had found the answer to the problem which 
they had vainly been puzzling over for thirty years "and 
that if they were to remain alive they would show that it was 

This heightening of the powers of the spirit in the hour of 
death strongly resembles what takes place in sleep and dreams, 
particularly during the abnormal states of sleep, which means 
that it recalls those manifestations of our spiritual life which 
occur when cerebral activity is suspended, or at any rate 
greatly diminished. 

We look upon the states in question and the phenomena 
connected with them, at least in their manner of beginning, 
as enormously' — or, better, abnormally — intensified mani- 
festations of the natural powers of the soul. 

As its nature causes the soul, while united to the body, to 
have need of the co-operation of the inner and outer senses, 
so that some nature endows the soul, once it has been 
separated (or partly separated — A.W.) from the body, with 
powers of direct spiritual knowledge. 

If the soul possesses, as it seems, even in this our bodily life, 
potentialities of higher illumination which in our normal 
state the bonds of our sensual nature prevent from unfolding, 
and which can only break through these bonds in rare and 
quite exceptional circumstances, and then only for brief 
periods and at the expense of other powers, then how pro- 
found in its depth and all-penetrating in its clarity must be 
the vision of that soul, once it has passed on to the shining 
heights of the next world. 

Occult Phenomena 53 

How concerned is Dr Franz Schmidt to explain the powers 
of knowledge possessed by the human soul when it has attained 
freedom from the body. He speaks of soul-sleep, he asserts 
that the soul is not a pure spirit at all (Gutberlet), he speaks 
of the soul's pre-existing before it entered the body ; but the 
text Wisdom 9. 15 completely confuses him. He almost has an 
intimation of the truth when he says that in the Paradisal state 
the higher spiritual life of man, and with it the life of the 
senses, were in no way impeded by the body, and that it was 
only as a result of original sin that our spiritual energy has 
become so feeble and so dominated by evil desires. But his grasp 
of this does not seem to influence the conclusions he draws. He 
utterly fails to perceive that the soul must have as clear a 
knowledge of itself and of its actions, after death although he 
is utterly unable to explain the nature of the punishment of the 
damned, if it is not in the nature of the soul to know God. 

The best proof of the correctness of my thesis is its simplicity, 
for not only does it make intelligible all that theology has to 
teach us concerning our first parents, and their fall; it also 
provides a thoroughly plausible explanation of the phenomena 
of occultism, which have so disturbed men's spirits. Before 
discussing the matter further, we should like to quote the 
objections of Fr Alessio Lepicier (// mondo Invisibile, pp. 308 flf.), 
who is not ignorant of my solution of the problem. He writes : 

Certain authors assume the existence of a purely spiritual 
intercommunication between persons who are at some 
distance from one another, in order to furnish an explanation 
of the phenomena of telepathy and telaesthesia that rejects 
the mediation of spirits. They say " We do not know the form 
in which one spirit exchanges its thoughts with another, or 
one soul with another, such as whether this occurs by means 
of ether waves or from soul to soul without any kind of 
physical means, or through the putting forth of some kind of 
psychic power. We know nothing of the process by which the 
transmission from sender to recipient is brought about. All 
we know is the result. Yet most certainly whoever argues 
after this fashion mistakes the whole character of thought and 

^ ^eitschriftfur kath, TheoL, 1898. 

54 Occult Phenomena 

the manner in which we human beings communicate with 
one another in this hfe. Whoever is acquainted with Catholic 
philosophy knows how frivolous it is to speak of a projection 
of thought or will by means of some kind of psychic or other 
power, and how such an hypothesis goes counter to the 
rational nature of the soul. That is why the attempt to dis- 
pose, by a simple stroke of the pen, of the co-operation of the 
angels in bringing about direct communication between the 
spirits of two human beings, is an arbitrary and childish 
method of procedure." 

My reply to this is brief My endeavour has been to explain 
direct intercommunication between souls, not by a stroke of 
the pen, but by the use of the most meticulous care. I have 
avoided all talk of ether waves and psychic power and have 
based myself on the authority of theologians and of a long list 
of philosophers, who have been named above and who all 
affirm the existence of such influence. Being acquainted with 
Catholic philosophy, I am aware that ordinarily such inter- 
communication does not exist, but there are exceptional states, 
states of sleep, during which the bodily fetters of the soul are 
loosened and its purely spiritual nature can take effect. To 
assume that in such states intercommunication can take place 
without the mediation of a devil is neither childish nor arbi- 
trary, but a matter of plain common sense, as the weight of 
evidence furnished by the above examples most decisively 

(d) the psychology of this activity of the spirit soul 

Now if one ascribes to the soul after it has departed from the 
body the powers of a spirit, and if sleep is the brother of death, 
one can assume that the state of sleep to some extent fore- 
shadows our condition after death. 

When we refer here to the "partly body-free soul", we must, 
if we are not to fall into error, take note of the definition of the 
Council of Vienne (131 1), according to which the thinking soul 
is directly and by virtue of its nature {per se et essentialiter) the 
form of the body. This definition was at the time directed 

Occult Phenomena 55 

especially against the Franciscan, Peter John Olivi, who held 
that the vegetative and sensitive soul informed the body but 
that the intellective or thinking soul was only externally con- 
nected with it and did not enter with it into a union of being 
but only into a dynamic union, such as the director or mover of 
an instrument has with the instrument concerned. ^ He had thus 
repeated Plato's error, who speaks of man as a spirit that uses a 
body, an idea expressed by Descartes in the words: ''Uhomme 
est une intelligence desservie par des organes^^ (man is an intelligence 
using bodily organs). 

As against this the Council stressed the fact that the soul 
forms with the body a unity of nature and being, in that it 
directly informs the body, which it makes human by the com- 
munication of its being. Yet for the learned there still remained 
this intellectual difficulty : how can the spiritual soul enter into 
such a close conjunction with matter without itself becoming a 
material form? This difficulty disappears if with St Thomas 2 
we take the view that this higher form contains the lower one 
within itself, as a polygon contains the square, the triangle and 
the pentagon, and that the human soul is not wholly submerged 
in the body [immersa) nor completely enclosed by it [totaliter 
comprehensa) , a thing which because of its higher degree of 
perfection is inconceivable, and that in consequence there is 
nothing to prevent it from reaching out beyond the body in its 
effective power {dass ihre Wirkkraft iiber den Korper hinausragt) — 
aliquam ejus virtutem non esse corporis actum — despite the fact that 
with its substance it remains essentially the body's form. 

What the holy doctor here asserts of the soul in its perfectly 
normal state can obviously appear in varying degrees with 
different states of the soul, and can be especially intensified in 
moments of abnormality, when the thinking soul withdraws 
itself from the outer organs, thus applying in reverse the 
principle already quoted : una actio, quando fuerit intensa, impedit 
alteram. Such a partly body-free activity of the thinking soul is 
therefore to be deduced from principles of theology which have 
always been recognized, nor does such deduction contradict 
the unity of being that subsists between body and soul, or force 

1 Cf. Bernhard Jansen, Wege der Weltweisheit, p. 130. 

2 I, q. 76, a. I, ad 4. 

56 Occult Phenomena 

us to believe that this connection is purely dynamic, as Plato, 
Olivi and Descartes held it to be. 

The Schoolmen distinguish between the substance or essence 
of the soul and its capacities and acts. A child that has not yet 
attained the use of reason has indeed a soul and the potential 
capacity for thought, a capacity that is lacking in the animal. 
When a learned man sleeps, he still retains all his capacities 
and potentiae to carry on his learned work, capacities and 
potentiae which are lacking in the ordinary mortal. They are 
therefore something different from the soul, but real for all 

These capacities, according to St Thomas, 1 are more than 
merely co-extensive with the body. The soul is, as far as its 
essence is concerned, fully present in all parts of the body, but 
not in respect of its faculties. The faculty of sight, for instance, 
is in the eyes, but the soul's capacity for cognition is not 
confined to any one part of the body ; indeed in this respect the 
soul is not only not wholly present in every part of the body, 
but not wholly present in the body as a whole, for the power of 
the soul exceeds in its activity the capacity of the body {quia 
virtus animae capacitatem corporis excedit). When therefore I speak 
of the partly body-free soul, I am not suggesting that there is 
a substantial separation from the body, but that its purely 
spiritual powers reach beyond the body's domain [ein Hinaus- 
ragen ihrer rein geistigen Krdfte iiber den Bereich des Korpers) and that 
in this way it is empowered to perform feats in which the body 
has no part, or simply an abnormal one. 

The latest psychology treats of the activities of the spirit-soul 
when it deals with the exceptional states of our psychic life. 2 
Sleep, dreams, the hypnotic state, occultism with its physical 
and spiritual phenomena and even psychic disease are accounted 
by it as pertaining to the latter, as indeed do I myself There 
is, however, a marked tendency to ascribe phenomena to 
preternatural causes. 

I would at this state remind the reader that different 
philosophies conceive of the connection between body and soul 
in different ways. 

1 De spirit, creat., art. 4. 

2 P. J. Donat, Psychologie, 1936, nn. 478-560. 

Occult Phenomena 57 

1. The view of extreme dualism was as follows 

Man consists of two essentially different substances, body and 
spirit. This dualism goes back to Plato, and its effects are still 
observable in Kant and among the post-Kantian German 
idealists. It makes the problem of body and soul virtually 
insoluble, for it is wholly impossible to imagine how the 
immaterial spirit is supposed to influence the material body ; it 
leads to false conceptions of the mutual interaction of body and 
soul (such as occasionalism, and pre-estabHshed harmony, as 
also to the theory of materialist identity and "psycho-physical 
parallehsm") and thus either to spiritualism or materiahsm. 

2. Materialistic Monism 

The spiritual part of the human personality is always pushed 
more into the background, until at last it disappears altogether. 
What then remains under the name of Monism is nothing but 
crass materialism; cf. Haeckel. 

3. Idealistic Monism 

The same process in reverse ; the bodily part is pushed back 
to vanishing point. What remains is nothing but "Idealism". 
This view has hardly any adherents today, because it is contra- 
dicted by all experience. It is impossible to deny the body's 
reality. For this reason "Idealism" turns all too readily into 
materialism: ^Hes extremes se touchent". 

4. Trichotomism 

This distinguishes between soul and spirit as between two 
different substances. Kauders came near to a trichotomist 
conception when he pictured the vegetative soul as a psycho- 
physical intermediary stage and contrasted it as a "soul- 
stratum" with the "spirit sphere". Similarly Frankl, when he 
speaks of the psycho-physicum and identifies this with the 

5. Anthroposophy 

This (like Theosophy and Indian Gnosis) really distinguishes 
four constituent parts of the personaHty : the body of coarse 
matter, the etherial body of fine matter, the astral body which 
derives from the spiritual sphere, and the spirit. The two central 
parts interpenetrate, so that that results which can be designated 

58 Occult Phenomena 

as the soul. The upshot is the same trichotomism as was 
described above. 

6. Scholastic Philosophy i 

(fl) Normal state of the soul. The soul penetrates and informs 
the body down to the last cell, down to the last atom (in this 
connection we must point to the centrosoma as the dynamic 
centre of every bodily cell) and normally does not extend beyond 
the body in its activities. Here the principle applies that 
nothing is in the understanding that was not first in the senses. 

{b) Abnormal state of the soul. The soul is in its lower part 
(the corporal soul) "body-bound" and in this lower part 
contains the anima vegetativa, sensitiva and intellectualis, that is to 
say the living animal, vegetable and intellectual principle, but 
it rises above these with that part that is designated as the 
anima spiritualis or "spirit-soul" and which can be contrasted 
with the lower or "corporal" part of the soul. This contrast, 
however, must by no means be made in a trichoromistic sense — 
that is to say, in the sense of an essential distinction between soul 
and spirit, but only in one that affirms the unity and indivisibility 
of the human spirit-soul. Still less must the spirit be represented 
as the antagonist of the soul (thus Klages) . 

The spirit-soul can in certain circumstances partially with- 
draw itself and its body-bound part from the life of the senses 
and allow its activity to reach out beyond the body. From this 
there result phenomena such as we encounter in occultism and 
to some extent in the mystic life. 

The scholastic doctrine concerning the soul is the only one 
that provides a satisfactory solution for the problems of modern 
psychology and parapsychology. 

In recent times people have located the powers that reach out 
beyond the body in the subconscious, and have attributed a 
character to the latter which almost exactly coincides with 
what has been said above concerning the pure spirit. This 
therefore seems the place to examine this same subconscious 
somewhat more closely. 

(e) the subconscious 
The ideas set forth in this chapter must be reviewed from 
yet another angle. The words "subconscious" and "uncon- 

Occult Phenomena 59 

scious" have already been frequently employed, and it is by 
this term that profane science seeks to indicate the source of a 
number of mysterious happenings in our psychic life. It was the 
physician and psychologist Carl Gustav Carus, a pupil of 
Schelling and a friend of Goethe, who in his book Symbolik der 
Menschlichen Gestalt (SymboHsm of the Human Form) first spoke 
of the unconscious, a word which Fichte and E. V. Hartmann 
then took over ; the latter developed a whole Philosophy of the 
Unconscious. The French psychologist Pierre Janet, on whom 
Siegmund Freud based himself, coined the word "subconscious " 
in his examination of the phenomena of neurosis and hysteria. 
He did so at the same time as F. W. H. Myers in England, and 
on the whole it is the latter who should be regarded as the 
author of this technical term. 

The age being materialist, this discovery caused an immense 
sensation. It was disputed and opposed — if for no other reason 
than that it was like a stone that did not fit into the proud 
edifice of rationalism and enlightenment ; no one knew whence 
it came or how to fit it into the general plan of knowledge. Yet 
an attempt to do just this seems very much worth while. 

As we have seen, the word "subconscious" appears to be 
only about half a century old, but a knowledge of the thing 
itself is really quite old. Even St Augustine writes in his 
Confessions'^ : "I enter into the wide domain and into the palace 
of my memory, where vast treasures of all lands are hidden. 
There slumber all the reflections of the world, the whole of our 
development, our education, and everything that we have ever 
learned. Even the act of forgetting and the thing forgotten is 
still somehow in our memory." Today the word "subconscious" 
is a word with many meanings, a concept whose significance 
philosophers have difficulty in determining, Eisler^ found 
eighteen different ways of interpreting the word, Schopenhauer 
looks upon it as an innate instinct with an indeterminate and 
general object. Fechner calls it a general consciousness that 
reaches out over all {ein allgemeines iiberragendes Bewusstsein) in 
which the various individual consciousnesses are rooted, an 
earth-consciousness or world-consciousness from which the 

1 The quotation is translated from the Kosel edition, VII, p. 233. 

2 Worterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe, 1910, III, 1561. 

6o Occult Phenomena 

. 1 
individual consciousness issues forth. Quite recently a Canadian ' 

psychiatrist, R. M. Bucke, wrote a book Cosmic Consciousness ; the 

American doctor Dr K. Walker has a chapter on this in his book, 

Diagnosis of Man, entitled "Higher States of Consciousness". H. 

Urban (Innsbruck) translates this last as " Superconsciousness " 

( Vberbewusstsein) . i 

The empirical psychologists Janet, Binet, Ribot defined it as 
something that had split off from the central consciousness, and 
sought to find in it an explanation of hysteria and psychasthenia. 
The occultists tend in general to speak of a second ego within 
us (Perty, Du Prel, Aksakow). The people that seem to have 
hit the mark are the Anglo-Americans, Myers, James, Schiller 
and Sandy. These refer to the subconscious as both the source 
and the continuation of our upper consciousness. Myers, in his 
book Human Personality and its Survival after Death,'^ suggests that 
there are perceptions in the consciousness that elude all 
psychology, just as there are vibrations in the ether that we do 
not see, and light-waves that we experience as warmth ; that the 
consciousness we know is only a tiny part of a greater conscious- 
ness with a hidden working. It is like an iceberg, eight-ninths 
of which is below the surface of the water and only one-ninth 
above it; this portion represents the consciousness, the part 
below the water the unconscious. He calls the unconscious 
"subHminal" because it hes below the threshold of conscious- 
ness. Some, hke Paulsen, Sigwart and Donat, dispute the exist- 
ence of an unconscious, though others, like Gutberlet and 
Geyser, postulate it as a logical necessity. Very many people, 
however, today accept Myers' conception and declare that his 
discovery entitles him to be ranked with Copernicus and 
Darwin, as one of the greatest geniuses of all time. 

Consciousness can, as already indicated, be regarded as the 
knowledge of the soul in regard to its being and its acts. It is 
not merely a reflexive knowledge which deduces the cause of 
phenomena from those phenomena, but a direct and immediate 
experience. Consciousness is therefore distinct from the soul. 
The latter is the subject which has consciousness, knowledge, a 

1 Cf. Vberbewusstsein by Hubert J. Urban, 12 vols., in Blaue Hefte, Tyrolia, 


2 Longmans Green, 1920, 

Occult Phenomena 6i 

knowledge that is directed intuitively towards its being and its 

The subconscious, however, can be conceived as a sum of 
functions and activities which remain concealed or "occult" 
from the normal consciousness (which is also called the upper 
consciousness) and can at best reach the consciousness reflex- 
ively and by a detour with the help of various occult practices. 
The powers of the subconscious are now described as follows ^ : 

Everything that flows towards the soul from the outside first 
enters into the subconscious, and from here only a small part 
goes into the upper consciousness at all. The subconscious is 
therefore much the richer of the two ; it leads an independent 
life, being, so to speak, "busy behind the scenes". It can thus 
provide an explanation for much that seems to us incompre- 
hensible and surprising. Though everything does not penetrate 
into the upper consciousness, yet nothing is lost. Experiences 
may only enter the consciousness after delay, or even not enter 
it at all, yet they remain effective and condition the freedom 
of our actions — or they have the effect on us of an alien intel- 
ligence. This faculty never tires [op. cit., p. 936) and can thus 
lead to an actual dissociation of the personality. Since all mental 
processes result in some kind of physical activity (Swedenborg), 
it explains pendulum-swinging, psychotherapy, dancing tables 
and the writings of mediums ; indeed, spiritualist methods now 
become a valuable means of research into the subconscious. 

A whole series of phenomena is thus made intelligible by 
this concept of the subconscious. Yet an unexplained residuum 
remains, and that is why people take refuge in such ideas as 
animal magnetism "touching and passes", psychodes, psychic 
power, od, auras, astral bodies, perispirits, vital fluids, bio- 
dynamic powers, electricity, skin emanations, magnetoid 
energy, etc. — all of them postulates by which the attempt is 
made to explain the phenomena in question. 

All this seems to be due to the fact that people did not 
develop the idea of the subconscious to its ultimate logical con- 
clusion ; that they did not search for a bearer thereof, a subject 
in which it rested. In the same way that we affirm the existence 

1 Cf. F. Moser, Okkultismus, Tduschungen und Tatsachen, Munich, 1935, 
pp. 147 ff. 

62 Occult Phenomena 

of the body-bound soul in regard to our ordinary consciousness, 
so we must necessarily assume that of the partly body-free soul 
in regard to the subconscious, and that in the full sense of the 
term — that is to say by postulating real spiritual powers for it. 

There is no point in talking of the soul and its omnipotence 
(Moser), if we do not draw the obvious conclusions from such 
an idea. There must be grounds for such an assumption and it 
is precisely such grounds that have been furnished by the con- 
cept of the partly body-free soul. And indeed one can define the 
actual circumstances under which the latter can function. The 
philosophers have from time to time noted that, to give the 
obvious example, the vegetative functions are unconscious and 
that nature had presumably made this arrangement ne anima 
nimium turbetur,^ so that the soul may remain more free for its 
other functions. The same thing applies to the subconscious, 
which can best develop its powers when the soul is in some way 
or other freed from its normal activities. This occurs in sleep, 
as St Thomas expressly points out [Summa, I, q. 86, a. 4). 

1 Donat, Psychologie, a. 15, § 4 (1936), p. 207. 



[So far we have seen that there are certain powers within the human 
personaHty which must be accounted as abnormal, and from time 
immemorial the duality of our psychic functions has been recognized, 
so much so that two separate terms, 4tvxTi and -nvevixa, have been 
invented to designate these two different aspects of our psychic 
activity. We are, however, not concerned here with two separate 
things but with a single entity, though this entity acts differently 
according to whether we find ourselves in our normal waking state 
or in one of the different kinds of natural and artificial sleep. To 
some extent the two merge in the subconscious, which both serves 
to store our sense perceptions and also records and gives effect to 
those acts of knowledge and of will which take place otherwise than 
through the bodily mechanism.] 

FROM the above it is plain that we must assume powers and 
faculties in the human soul of a somewhat unusual kind. A 
brief review should make the nature of these powers more clear. 
We will therefore attempt something in the nature of a 
psychology of the unconscious and of the occult. 

There is a double psychology — that is to say, a double 
science of the soul and its faculties, and its double character 
depends on whether we regard its faculties from the point of 
view of the body, or make our approach to them from the 
starting-point of the soul itself. In this sense St Thomas wrote a 
double psychology, one being in his Explanation of the Three 
Books of Aristotle concerning the Soul. This represents his so-called 
scientific psychology, in which he proceeds from the actual 
phenomena of our psychological life, and from these deduces 
the existence of a soul. He begins by determining the various 
objects which call psychological activities into being, and from 
these he deduces the faculties of a permanent substratum which 
he calls the soul, which he recognizes as being insubstantial, 
spiritual, immortal and personal. 

64 Occult Phenomena 

This is very much the way the matter is seen by certain 
modern authors, e.g. Flammarion, Richet, Myers, Moser, 
Mattiesen and others. These writers record the phenomena of 1 
the occult and deduce from these the existence of a soul ; the 
activities of this said soul reach out much further than the con- 
sciousness of the corporal soul. The writers in question recognize 
that the soul never rests, never grows tired, and never forgets, 
and that it is not bound by space or time. Nevertheless there 
remains everywhere a residue which they cannot explain, and 
they do not succeed in reaching the conception of a spirit, 
because no analogous concept is anywhere to be found in the 
other sciences. They are thus driven, like Myers and Aksakow, 
to accept the spiritualist thesis. That was as far as their 
particular methods could lead them. 

St Thomas,! however, travels yet another road than that 
already indicated. He does this in his capacity of theologian. 
He makes the soul his starting-point, affirming its spirituality, 
and since he has defined the powers of spirits — such as the 
angels, for instance — he deduced from these, proceeding from 
cause to effects, the powers of the soul. This was in point of fact 
the way the present writer proceeded above, arriving at the 
conclusion that the faculties of the soul must of necessity reach 
out beyond the body. 

It has moreover also now been experimentally proved that 
there exists in man a "something" which is neither matter nor 
sensually material, but spiritual and personal. Indeed we can 
arrive at this knowledge quite directly, since the soul can grasp 
things which are not bound to space or time. It must therefore 
itself be superior to space and time, an attribute only possessed 
by a spirit. Admittedly it is at present tied down to the body 
and its senses, and can normally only engage in an activity 
proper to the corporal soul. But, as will be seen later, the first 
man was able to exercise yet another activity, namely that of 
the spirit-soul. 

That is why philosophy has already spoken of a twofold mode 
of existence on the part of the soul. It has spoken of a body- 
bound soul {tfjvxTq) and of a soul that is separated from the body 
{TTvevfxa, vovs). Admittedly, so long as the soul is bound to the 

1 1, q. 7 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 65 

body, it can only be active by means of the body. All the 
artificial distinctions in the world will not get around that fact. 
For ^'agere sequitur esse" ; the activity follows the mode of being. 
The question which now arises is whether the soul can engage 
in both kinds of activity together, since a "part" of it (I use 
the word "part" purely by way of analogy) is not bound to the 
body. It is St Thomas who urges this conclusion upon us, in so 
far as he asserts (I, q. 76) that a certain separation from the 
body must be assumed to make thought possible in man, 
although the soul by virtue even of this power of thought is the 
form of the body {^'est quidem separata sed tamen in materia'" — 
I, q. 76, ad i), and answers the objection that the soul cannot 
at one and the same time be spiritual and also bound up with 
the body as follows : Anima humana non est forma in materia 
corporali immersa, vel ab ea totaliter comprehensa, propter suam 
perfectionem et ideo nihil prohibet aliquam ejus virtutem non esse 
corporis actum, quamvis secundum suam essentiam sit corporis forma. 

(The soul is, because of its perfection, not a form that is 
completely immersed in bodily matter, nor is it completely 
contained by the latter ; for this reason nothing prevents a part 
of its power from being something other than a bodily act even 
though according to its essence it is the form of the body.i) 

The soul, so long as it is united with the body, performs not 
only its peculiar spiritual functions, but also, by means of the 
organs of the body, the vegetative and sensitive ones. It is these 
last which cease completely immediately the soul is parted from 
the body, while the others continue because of their original 
and independent quality, by virtue of which they reach out 
beyond the body. Admittedly St Thomas has not here spoken 
of any activity of the spirit-soul, for in the ordinary processes of 
thought the soul uses concepts which derive from its body- 
bound state. 

This much, however, can already be deduced from what he 
says, namely that the soul is not entirely absorbed by its 
function of informing the body, but, though it remains the 
body's form, reaches out beyond its imprisonment in the latter. 
"The spirit-soul is not claimed by the body in its totality; in 
part it reaches beyond it, and one can designate the part that 

1 I, q. 76, a. I, ad 4. 

66 Occult Phenomena 

does this as the spirit (spiritus), while that part which is more 
closely bound to the body can be designated as the soul {anima). 
Soul and spirit are nevertheless an inseparable unity (spirit 
soul) ; and this last is capable of two modes of acting and 

From this it would appear that the soul as a spirit can already 
be active in this present life, as indeed is indicated in St Thomas 
(I, q. 86, a. 4) when he discusses the question whether the soul 
can know the future. This is indeed possible for the soul when 
higher spiritual powers make impressions on it to which the soul 
can only react purely spiritually, Hujusmodi autem impressiones 
spiritualium causarum magis nata est anima suscipere cum a sensibus 
alienatur, quia per hoc propinquior Jit substantiis spiritualibus et magis 
libera ab exterioribus inquietudinibus (I, q. 86, a. 4, ad 2). 

In so far as St Thomas here already expresses the opinion 
that the soul, when it withdraws itself from the senses in sleep, 
can more easily perform the functions proper to the spirit-soul, 
then he is saying exactly what this book is seeking to establish. 

Earlier theologians had also argued in dissertations De anima 
etspiritu (e.g. Alcher of Clairvaux) that when, instead of allowing 
sensible objects to act on the soul, God acts upon it directly 
himself, then it is only by means of an activity proper to the 
spirit-soul that the soul can answer. It is the conviction of such 
men that God acts thus upon the soul when it is in the mystical 
state, or when he communicates revelations and other super- 
natural forms of knowledge. It is also their conviction that sleep 
is the brother of death, and if during the latter the soul, being 
free of the body, has powers of spiritual knowledge, then it is 
to be inferred from this that in sleep also some kind of freedom 
from the body or pure spirituality is present. A pure spirit, 
however, can never be inactive ; if it is not in a mystical state 
in which God speaks to it, it must of necessity experience some 
kind of feeling or subconscious knowledge, or be the recipient 
of a true dream or be engaging in some activity in the depart- 
ment of natural mysticism (Plotinus, Buddha) or even in the 
mysticism of hypnotism, trance or of some other state in which 
the senses are confused. 

If we have recognized the fact that the soul is made free 

1 Nidermeyer, Salzburger Hochschulwochm, Salzburg, 1937, p. 96. 

Occult Phenomena 67 

towards its spiritual side when the senses withdraw, the con- 
clusion lies to hand that when this occurs the soul must in 
some way be active. In its normal state consciousness, or rather 
self-consciousness, is the way in which the soul becomes 
approachable. When the spirit-soul is active, a different kind of 
consciousness comes into being, and actually there is a split 
between the pathological and mediumistic element and the 
mystical consciousness. In the latter there comes into being a 
consciousness of a higher kind (maximum tension), in which the 
soul knows itself and also the spiritual substances directly. In 
the ordinary states of sleep or half-waking, however, this 
activity remains hidden in the subconscious (maximum 
relaxation). The connections between this last and the actual 
consciousness are few, yet it brings the psychogenic activities 
into being, and without direction by intelligent thought and 
will, it becomes the cause of our erratic dream-life, sets our 
imagination into motion, begins in its somnambulistic processes 
to carry out activities that have been the subject of its thought, 
governs the life of our feelings, and in hysteria the activities of 
the body till we reach epileptoid states, clownishness and 

Thus, to recapitulate, we arrive from the side of theological 
psychology at the conclusion that the activities of the soul 
partly reach out beyond the purely bodily into the sphere of 
pure spirit and so take on the character of the activities of 
spirits. Moreover, according to St Thomas, this occurs when, 
and in so far as, the sensual and bodily is withdrawn in sleep 
and the soul thus remains left to act as a pure spirit. The 
faculties of pure spirits, however, and their method of acting — 
and this includes the spirit-soul — are, as we showed above, 
precisely the same as those recorded by experimental science 
(by Moser, for instance) in the case of the subconscious. 

If modern science and occultism, in so far as this last may be 
ranked as a science, have established the existence of the sub- 
conscious, then we must assume a carrying agent for it, and we 
have discerned such a carrying agent in the soul that has 
become partly or wholly free of the body. 

It is possible to compare what has been stated above con- 
cerning pure spirits with what modern science has established 

68 Occult Phenomena 

in regard to the subconscious; it will be found that the two 
things are exactly the same. The only difference between the 
two concerns things that cannot be experimentally established 
at all, e.g. immortality; but in so far as traces of the sub- 
conscious are discernible, they exactly coincide with the spiritual 
powers of the soul. To give but one example, there are the 
pieces of knowledge which man is able to acquire when in an 
abnormal state, and which come from sources that are not 
accessible to the soul in its body-bound state; these are, how- 
ever, open to the soul when it has been freed from the body, 
and lie stored up in the subconscious, and it is only in the state 
of trance that, as through a slit, they become apparent. 

Quite recently Dr Hubert Urban, professor of the University 
of Innsbruck and president of the neurological and psychiatric 
clinic of that university, occupied himself in his work 
" Cosmic Consciousness " according to Bucke and Walter (Inns- 
bruck-Vienna, 1950) with the great question of the sub- 
conscious and finally remarked as follows : 

It is very desirable that other sciences should co-operate in 
the solution of these problems so that we might again restore 
the conception we have lost of man as a whole. This has 
actually been done quite recently by the theologians (e.g. 
Wiesinger, Okkulte Phdnomene, Styria, Graz, 1948). In accord- 
ance with a tradition that is thousands of years old, these 
distinguish between the "corporal soul" and the "spirit- 
soul", i.e. between anima and spiritus, between j/'u^'? ^.nd 
TTvevfia. Since it is only the latter (spirit-soul = spiritus = 
TTvevixa) that can be regarded as the carrying agent of the 
powers that are wholly independent of the body, it must 
necessarily be that with which "Cosmic Consciousness" or 
" Superconsciousness " {Vberbewusstsein) is connected. It thus 
seems to be identical with what the mystics called the "point 
of the soul" [apex mentis) or the "spark of the soul" {scintilla 
animae). The state in which the soul is "partly body-free" 
seems to be one of the necessary conditions for this. 

Here then we have a meeting-point between the most recent 
researches of medicine into the depths of the soul and the 
deductions of theology from the great treasuries of Revelation. 

Occult Phenomena 69 

The fact that "extra-sensory perceptions" (ESP) are 
unconscious in man has led many scientists to the con- 
clusion that they would be particularly certain to find them in 
the lower forms of life which do not possess consciousness. In 
this connection many have drawn attention to the instinctive 
actions of animals. Thus many animals have a sense of direction 
which remains quite unaffected by distance, and this, they 
argue, is not very different from the power of human beings in 
trance to become aware of things that are far removed in space 
or time. The American J. B. Rhine l has written on this subject 
and laid stress on the migration of birds which have often flown 
to distant parts of the world long before these had been dis- 
covered by man ; he also lays stress on the migration of fish at 
breeding time in the great oceans of the world, and on the 
sense of direction in pigeons and dogs, which can find their 
way home from great distances. These facts, together with the 
skill shown by birds in the building of their nests, a process in 
which not inconsiderable mathematical problems are often 
solved, and in which a knowledge of construction is displayed 
that man only acquired after prolonged study, might possibly 
suggest to us that a spirit-soul is also present in animals. Since 
this supposition can hardly be entertained, it might well be 
thought that the foundations had been knocked away from 
under the whole thesis of this book. 

When it fell to theology to consider these instinctive actions, 
it regarded them as a proof of the existence of a supernatural 
Creator who had endowed living creatures with faculties 
designed for special ends that are activated unconsciously and 
without any knowledge of their purpose. Nevertheless the 
question still remains unanswered : why do we in this respect 
view men and animals in two such widely differing ways ? Why 
do we in the case of man regard the spirit-soul as the seat of the 
ESP, and trace them back to the Creator in the case of animals? 
Would it not be better to use the same approach in both cases ? 
Would it not be better, that is to say, either to assume the 
working of an alien intelligence in the case of man or to ascribe 
a spirit-soul to animals ? 

1 "The Present Outlook on the Question of Psi in Animals", in The 
Journal of Parapsychology, Durham .N.C., U.S.A., 1951, pp. 230 ff. 

70 Occult Phenomena \ 

Yet the different treatment of these two groups of living 
creatures seems really to be in the nature of things, for in 
animals the faculties in question are possessed in equal measure 
by all members of any particular species, whereas in man they 
are only observable here and there. For thousands of years 
birds of passage have sought the same territories and for 
thousands of years humming birds have built the same kind of 
nest, and during all that time there has, in the case of the birds, 
been no sign of change or progress, whereas in man the occult 
or mystical faculties tend now to develop and now to be lost. 
Further, such faculties in man relate to all the things with 
which his intelligence concerns itself, whether it be such a 
matter as the diagnosing of a disease or the deciphering of an 
inscription, or whether it be a matter of having supranormal 
knowledge of something taking place at a distance, or of under- 
taking ESP tests. In the animal all instinctive actions are 
directed mediately or immediately towards the survival of the 
species or of its individual members. One might add that if 
their actions originated ultimately from within themselves, one 
would have to attribute to them a degree of wisdom often far 
surpassing the wisdom of man. This would make it all the more 
remarkable that their mental life should have remained utterly 
stationary and one-sided, i 

We can thus see that in animals these faculties are gifts with 
which their creator has endowed their nature, and that they 
operate with equal force in all members of a species, doing so 
with blind necessity, even when they do not achieve their 
purpose at all. In man, on the other hand, they manifest them- 
selves in certain individuals as the natural extension of their 
spiritual life, and in doing so extend over every kind of field ; 
they develop and dry up again according to inward and out- 
ward circumstance, and have nothing whatever to do with the 
survival of the individual concerned or of the species. In the 
case of man, therefore, these faculties pertain to the individual 
spirit-soul, of which we can trace no sign in the ordinary 
behaviour of animals. 

These observations, which are made from the point of view 
of theologically orientated philosophy, are in no way intended 

1 Savicky, Die Wahrheit des Christentums, Paderborn, 1921, p. 72. 

Occult Phenomena 71 

to discourage the collating and observing of facts in the manner 
practised by the University of Durham under the initiative of 
Rhine. 1 Indeed such activities may help us, by means of a long 
and painstaking process of observation and comparison, to 
create a broad and exact basis for the establishment of man's 
true nature and place in the universe. This kind of enquiry has 
been too much neglected till now, to the detriment of our culture 
and of mankind as such. We can anticipate such researches 
with both interest and calm, even though certain intermediate 
results may appear to contradict our traditional opinions. The 
disastrous thing would be to content ourselves with half 
knowledge: "Dig deeper and you will everywhere encounter 
Catholic soil" (Gorres). 

It is often contended that the fact that animals dream 
disproves the whole existence of a spirit-soul, since animals 
obviously do not possess one. However, even in man most 
dreams are the dreams of half sleep (p. 102) which derive from 
incorrectly interpreted sense perceptions of the corporal soul. 
Finally it would be hard to prove that a dog has a purely 
spiritual intuition when it barks in its sleep. 

It now remains for us to discover the sources from which 
the subconscious gains its knowledge. These are first of all the 
knowledge acquired by the understanding which, owing to the 
weakness of our physical organs, has been forgotten, but remains 
stored up in the two milliard cells of our brain. It would appear 
that the soul, when it uses the powers of the human organism, 
can only remember the things that lie on the surface of the 
organ; the rest lie buried and forgotten, covered over like 
the greater part of an iceberg in the water, and it is only to 
the extent that the part above the water melts away that, as a 
result of some disintegration, of sleep, illness, injury or emotional 
disturbance, the other part can come to the surface. This, then, 
is the knowledge that derives from our ordinary mental life. 

A second source is both more important and further reaching. 
The soul is, as I have already shown, a spirit. It is therefore able, 
when it is at least partly free from the body, to cognize things 
that are distant, everything in fact to which it directs its 
attention and which represents a fact. When in this state, it 

1 Loc. cit. 

72 Occult Phenomena 

can read the thoughts of others, even those concealed in the 
subconscious, can know what has occurred in the past, can 
diagnose disease, it can have visions, such as those of Madame 
Guyon (1646-17 12), who, while in a state of trance, wrote 
entire books on quietism (a religious system condemned by the 
Church). It can reveal things that are hidden, as is done by 
the spiritualist mediums, who thus create the belief that they 
are receiving revelations from the dead or from demons ; it can 
also, after the manner of pure spirits, move bodies at a distance 
(telekinesia) or give shape to matter (teleplastia) as do the 
angels when they make themselves visible. It can therefore bring 
about all the phenomena of materialization, which today so 
astonish us. We know that the soul once possessed, as a preter- 
natural gift, greater power over matter, and that of this there 
only remains a part, a rudiment, which serves to perform the 
astonishing "miracles" of spiritualism, as the modern epidemic 
is called. For this second kind of knowledge the soul would first 
have to use the infused species, which would then enable it to 
take over the imagination pictures from its normal activity, as 
was indicated earlier. 

Perhaps there is yet a third source, of which T. K. 
Oesterreicher seems vaguely aware when he speaks of a tele- 
pathic transmission.! The same applies to Fr Gatterer, S.J., 
when he falls back on the idea of an "all-telepathy" as an 
explanation of metaphysical phenomena. Further, we know 
that our first parents most certainly had great preternatural 
spiritual power by means of which they were able to com- 
municate their knowledge and their will to their posterity. The 
power of suggestion, which in a very limited way intimates that 
other power, as far as there is still anything left of it after the 
Fall, is something faintly similar. The influence which our first 
parents were able to exert was something incomparably 
stronger, and it could act on their immediate posterity. This 
last could then influence its own posterity by suggestion, 
though rather more faintly, and could thus communicate know- 
ledge to them as a world heritage — and who knows whether 
such knowledge of past generations did not leave some kind of 
traces behind which though only rudimentary, could in 

1 Der Okkultismus im modernen Weltbild, 1923. 


Occult Phenomena 73 

exceptional occasions revive. This might provide an explana- 
tion of certain instances of psychometry, such cases as that of 
A. Catherine Emmerich, who saw those gigantic white animals in 
Paradise whose existence could only later be confirmed when 
the remains of mammoths were found in the ice of Siberia. 
Another case is that of Theresa Neumann, who is not only 
herself present at the historic passion of Our Lord, but hears 
Aramaic words, such as until our own day even the learned 
did not know, but have since found to be correct, and also 
legends which people had at one time or another invented. 
Such rudimentary powers would certainly explain all the 
phenomena of modern mysticism with which both ordinary 
curious people and despairing men of science seem to be 

After Myers used his simile of the iceberg, nearly all authors 
that dealt with this subject began to employ it. In doing so they 
are endeavouring to make plain that the submerged, the sub- 
conscious, part of the mind is much larger than the waking 
consciousness and reaches down into cosmic depths, into secret 
things which escape our ordinary cognizance, it is only in so 
far as the upper part melts that the rest comes to the surface. 
The same applies to the consciousness of our corporal soul ; this 
must more or less disappear if the powers of the subconscious, 
which pertain to the spirit-soul, are to manifest themselves. 
This, however, also shows us the danger in those powers and 
the price we have to pay for them. It is necessary for them to 
remove the consciousness until it is ultimately "deranged", so 
that the mind is clouded and actual madness can ensue. All 
this is not made any different by the circumstance that a few 
mediums were able to produce phenomena without going into 
a trance, and suffered no particular harm from doing so. 

Der Mensch versuche die Gotter nicht, 
und begehre nimmer und nimmer zu schauen 
was sic gnddig bedecken mit nacht und grauen. 

Let not tempt the Gods, 

nor desire ever to see 

what they mercifully cover with night and horror. 

Der Taucher, scmLLER 


[Whereas today the spiritual element in the soul can only function 
fully when the rest of the human personality is put out of action, 
this was not always so. In our first parents the preternatural 
endowment was fully present and active without the rest of the 
personality suffering any impairment. This was true both in regard 
to (a) the preternatural modes of knowledge and (b) the firmness 
of the preternatural will.] 

(We have so far endeavoured to make plain the nature of the 
faculties of the human soul, and have proceeded from the world 
of spirit, and from that starting-point have endeavoured to 
deduce its endowment. In doing so we made use of the findings 
of theology in order to shed light on this occult territory. Despite 
the fact that secular authors talk quite freely of uncontrollable 
spirits, of od, spirit-controls and all manner of things of that 
kind, exception has been taken to our own strictly scientific 
manner of procedure, because people have simply not taken 
the trouble to examine the arguments to their ultimate founda- 
tions. The whole of Chapters VI and VII, which here follow, 
are a further purely theological extension of what has already 
been said concerning the body-free soul. They can therefore 
be passed over by those who are unacquainted with Catholic 
theology, or who find that theology unacceptable.) 

I HAVE spoken of the pure spirituality of the soul. It is now 
proper that I should produce an example of a human being 
who experienced the state described without his human nature 
suffering any hurt thereby. Such a man was Adam before the 
Fall. We know that it is very difficult to tell from a broken 
machine how its various parts are intended to operate. One can 
only learn that by seeing a sound machine in actual operation. 
The same is true of man, particularly when we are concerned 
with the most important part of him, namely his soul. In order 
to become acquainted with all its attributes and functions, it is 

Occult Phenomena 75 

necessary to study it in its sound condition ; it is only by making 
this our starting-point that we can infer where the malady lies, 
and what rudimentary powers remain that are still working in 
secret and thus giving rise to much confusion because of the 
strange eflfects that they produce. It is only thus that one can 
recognize the cause of these strange happenings, and ignore 
all devils, reincarnations, perispirits, od waves, astral bodies, 
leaders, materializations, spirit-controls and the rest. 

We must therefore visualize the sound condition of our first 
parents in Paradise, as the Faith reveals it, and also study the 
vast devastation wrought by their first sin. In order to ensure a 
better understanding of all this, we must first acquaint ourselves 
with the technical terms of theology. 

What is it that we understand by nature and the supernatural ? 
We call all that "natural" which constitutes a substance, or 
derives from it or which demands it. This means : 

1 . All that inwardly constitutes the specific essence of a thing, 
whether it be an essential or an integrating part of its being. 

2. Everything that proceeds spontaneously from the nature of 
a thing, such as aptitudes, talents and powers, and everything 
that can proceed from it under the influence of some other 
being, such as proficiency in some art, skill or craft. 

3. Everything which, while lying outside the thing itself, is 
nevertheless necessary for its continued existence (nourishment, 
light, air), for its activity (the God-given will for survival), for 
its development (instruction, society, state) and for the attain- 
ment of its goal (knowledge of God, free will). The theologians 
group all these together under the term "demands of nature" 
or of things due, the things that God had to allow men to 
have, assuming that he desired to create men at all. 

What goes beyond this is something that is not actually due, 
it is an addition to that, something which is over and above 
nature, which is supernatural, or at least preternatural. 

The supernatural is of two kinds : the first is a perfection 
which transcends all created nature, as does, for instance, 
sanctifying grace, which gives man a divine nature, something 
to which no creature can have a claim. This is what we mean 
when we speak without further qualification of the super- 
natural. The second kind is the supernatural secundum quid, and 

76 Occult Phenomena 

consists in the participation by our nature in a higher created'' 
nature than our own. If for instance a man makes an act of 
knowledge without the mediation of the senses and after the 
manner of the angels, then he transcends his own nature and is 
permitted to partake in the higher nature of the angels. We 
call this category of the supernatural "preternatural", and 
again there are two kinds of the preternatural ; the first is the 
preternatural "according to the matter" (the thing done), and 
is a perfection to which we have no claim; the second is the 
preternatural "according to the form" (the manner of doing — 
receiving — it) , that is when we have no claim to the form. Thus 
when, for instance, we make an act of knowledge after the 
manner of the angels, then that is preternatural according to 
the matter, but if someone has the science of medicine infused 
into him, then that is preternatural according to the form, for 
that a man should acquire this science is natural, but the 
manner of acquiring it through infusion is not. 

Our first parents were created by God and received in 
addition to all that was proper to their nature — in addition, 
that is to say, to the talents, powers, aptitudes, which were 
necessary for their survival, activity, development and for the 
attainment of their goal — the wholly supernatural gift of 
sanctifying grace, which raised them up from the condition of 
nature to a much higher one to which they had no claim and 
and which made them into children of God, so that they shared 
the same nature with God. With this grace they received the 
infused virtues, so that they might act in such a manner as 
would merit them Heaven. 

Apart from their nature and these wholly supernatural 
graces, they also received a number of preternatural privileges, 
such as freedom from concupiscence, from suffering and from 
death, the power of higher knowledge, the faculties of pure 
spirits which were natural to their spirit-soul as such, but were 
nevertheless not its strict due, in so far as it was bound up with 
the body and the body was its instrument. Yet God permitted 
our first parents to enjoy both, so that they possessed both the 
powers of an angelic nature and also those deriving from con- 
nection with the body. And it was in this that the extraordinary, 
the preternatural character of our first parents consisted, namely 

Occult Phenomena 77 

that the soul was not a complete substance in itself, but needed 
the body for that. Even so, they received spiritual powers by 
which the natural qualities and capacities of man were perfected. 

If we proceed very carefully and ask how these preternatural 
gifts are to be understood, our attention is drawn to those 
faculties of the soul which reach out beyond the purely bodily 
(cf St Thomas, I, q. 76, a. 4, ad i). St Thomas says {De 
Veritate, q. 18, i) : there are three ways of knowing God: 
(i) After the Fall, we know God only in the mirror of his 
creatures. (2) In Paradise, God was known by virtue of a 
spiritual light which he infused into the human spirit. This light 
was an expressed similarity [expressa similitudo) of the uncreated 
light. 1 (3) In the visio beatifica God is known by the light of his 
glory. St Thomas says the same in his Summa (I, q. 94, a. i), 
namely that Adam did not see God according to his true nature 
(except in raptu quando Deus immisit soporem in Adam — Gen, 2 — 
"in a transport, when God allowed sleep to come over Adam"), 
yet knew him with a higher form of knowledge than that with 
which we know him now, so that his knowledge stood half-way 
between the knowledge that we possess on earth and that of God 
in the light of glory, in which God is beheld according to his 
true nature. Thus the knowledge of God possessed by our first 
parents stands midway between our present knowledge and 
that of eternity. 

If we ask further and enquire how exactly we are to visualize 
Adam's manner of knowledge, he replies that it was similar to 
mystical contemplation, and explains the idea of the spark of the 
soul {scintilla animae) by telling us that "as the spark, being a 
part of the fire, leaps upward out of the fire, so a part of the soul 
reaches upward out of the purely human and receives a small 
participation {modica participatio) in the kind of knowledge 
possessed by the Angels" {Comment in Sent., 31, 4), while in the 
Summa (I, q. 94, a, i) he refers us to the passage in St 
Augustine 2; "Perhaps God spoke to the first human beings as 
he does to the angels, by illuminating their spirit with the 

1 Cf. Fr W. Schmidt in vol. 6 of his grandiosely conceived Ursprung der 
Gottesidee (10 vols, have so far appeared, Miinster, Westphalia). This author 
shows (pp. 491 ff.), on the basis of an immense body of facts which he 
adduces, that God directly revealed his nature and actions to men. 

2 De Genesi ad litt,, XI, c. 43. 

78 Occult Phenomena 

unchanging light, although not with such communication of 
the divine essence as the angels can receive." 

From this the theologian, while adhering strictly to dogma, 
can draw the necessary philosophical conclusions that will 
enable him to understand the spiritual powers of our first 
parents as being proportioned to the degree of their knowledge. 
It is most certainly not true that the first man was a pure spirit. 
No, he had a body and a soul and the latter was the form of his 
body. His knowledge, like our own, was by means of abstractions 
from his sense perceptions ; but we can conclude from certain 
indications in divine revelation that the powers and faculties of 
his spirit-soul, which even in his present condition often reach 
out beyond the body (St Thomas, I, q. 76, a. 4), were also 
present and enabled him to act after the manner of a pure 
spirit, in so far as their essential connection with the body 
permitted this. This reaching out of his spirit-soul beyond the 
body was bound to show itself both in the quality of his know- 
ledge and in the acts of his will. When therefore in what follows 
here the expression "pure spirituality" is used, then this is to 
be understood as meaning that in addition to the natural 
powers of the corporal soul (which is bound up with the body 
and acts through the body) the powers of the spirit-soul are 
also present in man, and that these sometimes reach out beyond 
the powers of the body even in this life. This tends particularly 
to occur in the exceptional states of the soul such as those 
experienced by our first parents and residually by the mystics. 
It would also appear to occur in a rudimentary form in the 
mysticism of the occult. If, however, such purely spiritual 
cognition took place in our first parents, then we must attribute 
to them a corresponding mode of being, for "action follows 
being". This mode of being we call the state of semi-freedom 
from the body, and in Adam this was present as a normal 

In one respect therefore our first parents performed their 
acts of knowledge in the same manner as we do ourselves, but 
they also performed them directly after the manner of pure 
spirits. Also they possessed an openness and decisive quality of 
the will such as is only to be found in pure spirits. Through this 
their understanding was perfected, so that they had a better 

Occult Phenomena 79 

knowledge both of God and Nature and were free from every- 
thing that could hurt their happiness, their health or even their 
life; also their will was perfected and was kept superior to 
matter and remained free from concupiscence. It seems 
desirable to deal individually with such matters as preternatural 
knowledge, the inability to suffer, immortality, freedom from 
concupiscence and the preternatural will. 

These gifts are, according to theology, preternatural both 
"as to substance and manner" ; they constitute a partaking in 
the nature of pure spirits and co-exist with our human nature. 
If therefore theology affirms that preternatural gifts existed in 
our first parents, it thus indicates that, apart from human 
nature, they also received certain angelic powers, thus partici- 
pating in the nature of pure spirits. 

For this reason it is clear that those scholars are in error who 
hold that a radical inconsistency in human nature would be 
implied, if, apart from its normal methods of cognition through 
the senses, the soul were also to possess direct means of know- 
ledge without the mediation of the body. The preternatural 
gifts of our first parents did not impair the union of their bodies 
with their souls ; rather did they serve to strengthen and perfect 
it. The soul was not punished by its union with the body, but 
was thereby endowed with a new form of knowledge and will 
which, as a pure spirit, it would not have possessed. 

From this it is plain that it is inexact to say that "the angelic 
powers of our first parents were wholly bound up with their 
bodies", since this is philosophically impossible: agere sequitur 
esse (action follows being) . If the powers are wholly bound up 
with the body, then they are not angelic, that is to say, purely 
spiritual. There must be some kind of liberation from the body, 
or rather, a reaching out beyond the body. In this connection 
another question remains to be discussed, namely whether it is 
a punishment for the soul to be bound up with the body. 
Speaking generally, the theologians are inclined to look upon 
the state of the soul when it is separated from the body as a 
perfection thereof (Mager) and regard its powers of knowledge 
as much more perfect than those possessed by it when it was 
bound up with the body (Donat, Psychologie, V, 2). Others, 
however, do not agree ; they say that if this were so the soul 

8o Occult Phenomena 

would have to free itself from "its entrapped and enmeshed 
state and escape into pure spirituality ".^ 

In reaUty the truth lies half-way between these two positions. 
Undoubtedly it was originally an advantage for the human 
soul that in addition to its purely spiritual nature which it shared 
with the angels, it should also possess a body by means of which 
it could acquire a new manner of knowledge and perform 
meritorious works. After man had sinned, however, the body 
became a burden upon the soul {Quis liberabit me de corpore mortis 
huius? — St Paul) ; so that the state of being freed from the body 
was a preferable one. Yet the reunion of the soul with a 
glorified body is again a further stage of progress beyond the 
mere freedom from the body which has just been mentioned. 
It is, as has already been shown, an upward development. 

(a) their preternatural modes of knowledge 

All that we know of Adam's powers of understanding shows 
that his knowledge surpassed the wisdom of modern man, 
despite the latter' s very considerable progress and development, 
a thing we can only explain if we ascribe to Adam the powers 
of a pure spirit. 

I . Actually we read that while he was creating woman " God 
cast a deep sleep over Adam", a sleep which in actual fact 
represented a great release from the senses. Theologians have 
been at some pains to explain the condition that is indicated by 
the word Tardemah. Though this word does not really mean 
"ecstasy", which is the Septuagint rendering (the Septuagint 
was a translation into Greek carried out by seventy scholars), it 
can nevertheless be rendered as an ecstatic sleep, that is to say, 
as a state of being in which the soul dwelt outside the world 
of sense and was active after the manner of pure spirits. (The 
word itself is connected with the Semitic rafi?flm= keeping in 
check, i.e. making the senses recede. According to St Thomas 
(I, q. 94, a. i) Adam, while in this state, knew God in His 
essence.) "Adam's mystical life, however, was not to be a mere 
psychological experiment, as it is with us, but a personal and 
direct contact with God ".2 

1 Weber, ZKT., 1950, p. 105. 

2 Fr Joh, Mehlmann, O.S.B., Rev. Eccl. Bras., 1943, p. 359. 


Occult Phenomena 8i 

This personal contact did not only last during this mysterious 
state of sleep, but in a slighter degree was (St Thomas, I, q. 94, 
a. i) the actual life of Adam ; it was an intimacy with God such 
as is enjoyed by the pure spirits. Adam heard "the voice of God 
walking in Paradise at the afternoon air" (Gen. 3. 8) and had 
spiritual intercourse with God, for it would hardly be appro- 
priate to suppose that God made use always of the air waves for 
this intercourse, during which Adam was taught by him 
(Eccl. 17. 4-12). 

From this the holy Fathers have deduced the doctrine that 
Adam, like the mystics, intuitively beheld God, the creation of 
the world and the purpose thereof, the principles of law and 
morals and all that was necessary for him as head and instructor 
of the human race. "To interpret this divine revelation in the 
first chapter of Genesis as an indirect revelation which is not 
to be literally interpreted would be equivalent to supposing 
that the greater part of the stories of Genesis (1-3) were only 
allegories, and this would be in contradiction to the decrees of 
the Bible Commission of 30th June, 1909" (Mehlman, op. cit.). 
St Bernard says quite plainly: "It was only through sin that 
reason was thus imprisoned in the senses ; once man also had a 
spiritual eye, that did not need the senses in order to know God, 
but this has now been clouded and darkened by sin {intricatus 
caligat oculus) and can only be cleansed for contemplation by 

2. From this it is plain that Adam possessed an angelic 
intelligence ; his genius, however, shows itself particularly in the 
fact that he gave names to the animals, an act that was very 
highly rated by St Augustine as an act of the highest wisdom — 
much as the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras accounted 
that man the wisest who first gave names to things. 2 

In order to appreciate the significance of this act, we must 
understand something of the mentality of the ancients. In their 
view, the name indicates the nature of a thing. In order there- 
fore to give a thing a name, one must know fundamentally its 
nature. Now there are two ways in which one can grasp the 
nature of a thing; one is by abstracting the non-essential 

1 Op. cit., cf. Linhardt, Mystik des hi. Bernhard, p. 48. 

2 Cf. J, Pohle, Dogmatik, I, 1907, p. 465, 

82 Occult Phenomena 1 

phenomena, a process that necessitates protracted study and 
experience ; the other is the intuitive understanding of pure 
spirits. No doubt Adam had several centuries to obtain a know- 
ledge of things by abstraction from sensual perception ; for the 
rest, we can only suppose that he cognized things intuitively 
by the light that God had infused into him at the time of his 

This ecstatic intercourse with God and his profound know- 
ledge prove that Adam, in addition to the powers of under- 
standing based on his sensual perceptions, also had an angelic 
intelligence by means of which he was able to know God and the 
nature of things. This purely spiritual understanding also aided 
him in obtaining ordinary knowledge by means of the senses. 
Understanding therefore came very easily to him, a fact on 
which St Augustine lays great stress {against Julian, V, i ) . He 
was free from the obstacles caused by passion, untroubled by an 
undisciplined imagination or evil disposition, free from the 
necessity of providing for his own support and from the weak- 
ness of forgetfulness — in a word, free from the body as an 
impediment to the soul (Wisdom, 9. 15). 

3. This spiritual power that Adam enjoyed had one very 
important consequence, since by reason of it Adam was able 
to avoid all dangers to his health and so achieved the freedom 
from suffering, the happiness and immortality, which is so 
astonishing to us "for God created man incorruptible" 
(Wisdom, 2. 23). This immortality was not that of the blessed 
in heaven, who can no longer die ; it was simply the possibility 
of not dying {non posse mori et posse nan mori) . Our first parents, 
thanks to their spiritual powers, were able to avoid the causes 
of death, which are either external, like the mischances of 
nature, or internal, like sickness, age and the like. Adam was 
able to avoid the former and could protect himself against the 
latter by means of the fruit of the tree of life (Gen. 2. 9). Such 
knowledge could only be possessed by an angelic intelligence 
which understands anything to which it directs its attention, l 

Thus there existed two kinds of knowledge in Adam. On the 
one hand he derived it by means of abstractions from his sensual 
perceptions ; on the other he gained it by means of that spirit- 
1 Cf. Lepicier, // Mondo invisibile, pp. 36 fF. 

Occult Phenomena 83 

soul which reached out beyond his body, and this last is not 
only probable, but is what in actual fact the theologians have 
always held, though they may not always have expressed it so 
clearly. Nevertheless, it is most certainly true, and the truth of 
it is still further confirmed for us if we observe the quality of 
the will in these first members of the human race. 

(b) their preternatural will 

I . Apart from their freedom from suffering and immortality, 
which were consequences of the angelic quality of their under- 
standing, the theologians also account among the preternatural 
gifts vouchsafed to our first parents their innocence and freedom 
from concupiscence, qualities which originate from the preter- 
natural character of their will and which have now to be ex- 
plained. Given the qualities of understanding already described, 
it is really only to be expected that our first parents should also 
have been privileged in the matter of their will, and that this 
will should have been firm and unconquerable, and that it 
should have been the complete master of matter and body. 

Concupiscence is a sensual desire that has gone ahead in 
advance of considered thought and of the commands of reason. 
It is a desire that seeks its object in a manner that is contrary 
to reason. When sensual desire is subjected to reason, it is not 
in itself evil, and can aid the natural powers in attaining their 
object. Yet if this subjection is lessened or removed, it can only 
cause ruin, for the moral and even the physical order is then 
bound to be subverted. 

Freedom from such evil desire is known as innocence. In the 
state of innocence, man's reason keeps the lower part of his 
nature, namely his body and its senses, so much in subjection 
that the latter can never interfere with the free deliberation of 
the mind, but continues to be wholly subservient to it. Reason 
can then activate the powers of the will, and, when they are 
excited, curb and suppress them. The first human beings had 
a nature that was pure and strong, and they had powerful and 
healthy bodies, nor were they denied the delights of sense, 
though these were always kept under control and subjected to 
the reason (St Thomas, I, q. 98, a. 2). Holy Scripture shows 

84 Occult Phenomena 

this very clearly when it tells us that our first parents, though 
naked, were not ashamed, and only became aware of this 
circumstance after the Fall, This was not due to the fact that 
after sin they developed a more tender conscience, or that before 
it the purpose of marriage had been unknown to them ; while 
they were free from concupiscence, the body with all its powers 
remained subject to the soul. It was only after sin that they 
became aware of a confusion, a weakness of the soul and the 
degrading fact that the lower part of their nature had dominion 
over the nobler part, that is to say, over the soul and its reason. 

2. By reason of this innocence they held in restraint not only 
their fleshly desires, but also all others, their love of pleasure, 
of possessions and of power; all remained in peace and in order 
and subject to the will which was united to God. The soul 
directed the body, while, for its own part the latter, like a good 
and obedient instrument, gave them its support. Although they 
had an animal body, they experienced nothing in the nature 
of rebellion ; right order brought it about that even as the soul 
obeyed God, so the body obeyed the soul and was subject to it 
without any kind of opposition. 1 

3. The spiritual will not only dominated the body but also 
matter, so that it could avoid suffering and death and make 
work easy. God had ordained: "Of the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil thou shalt not eat, for in what day soever thou 
shalt eat of it thou shalt die the death", or as Symmachus, 
Theodoret and St Jerome translate : "thou wilt be mortal". By 
his angelic intelligence Adam knew how to avoid the causes of 
death and disease and by his will he was able to direct the fluid 
and solid substances of this world, so that they not only did 
him no hurt but greatly contributed to his happiness. "Man 
lived happily in Paradise, so long as he desired that which God 
ordained. Food was there for him so that he suffered no hunger, 
and drink, so that he suffered no thirst ; the tree of life was 
there so that he should not be wasted by old age. No disease 
was to be feared from within and no blow from without. There 
was for him perfect health in body and soul, no fatigue, and 
no sleep against his will."^ 

1 St Augustine, De pecc. mer. et rem., 2, 22. 

2 St Augustine, De Civ. Dei, 14, 26. 


Occult Phenomena 85 

4. He knew no fatigue ; his work was itself a pleasure for him. 
Today one asks how it was possible for work to be a pleasure, 
for there was work in Paradise even before the Fall. "And the 
Lord God took man, and put him into the Paradise of pleasure, 
to dress it and to keep it" (Gen. 2. 15). As we see things today 
such "dressing" could not be accomplished without toil and 
sacrifice. Some theologians explain the ease with which this 
work was performed by the supposed fact that the labour of our 
first parents was like that of the earlier stages of civilization, as 
the ethnologists describe them for us, in which men lived by 
hunting and the gathering of fruits, activities which can some- 
times be agreeable and can even be sources of pleasure. Yet 
this only holds good if there is a sufficiency of game and fruits, 
and when these can be obtained with comparative ease. When, 
however, the population increases and the game becomes more 
scarce and a man has often to stalk a quarry for days before 
killing it, and when in similar fashion it becomes difficult to get 
in a harvest, then this labour is no longer pleasurable and 
"without sweat". We know how arduous is the toil of getting 
in a harvest even in cultivated territory ; how much more must 
this be the case where the fruits of the earth have to be gathered 
in a wild state. Nevertheless the labour of man would always 
have been pleasurable despite the shortage of game and the 
heavy toil of the harvest, if man had never sinned. How could 
this have been brought about? Nobody till now has given a 
satisfactory answer to this question, though for us it is not 
difficult to find one. Our first parents possessed the preter- 
natural gift of a spiritual will which reached out beyond the 
body, a will which gave man the power of acting on matter and 
moving it without any kind of effort, even as pure spirits can 
act upon it and move it. We may thus suppose that Adam 
performed bodily work for so long as this gave him pleasure 
and redounded to his health. When, however, it threatened to 
become wearisome, he used his angelic powers over matter, as 
he required them. Nearly all peoples retain some memory of a 
golden age at the beginning of the history of man '" Aurea prima 
sata est aetas" (Ovid). Golden was the first age. 

5. Although we have now shown sufficiently clearly that a 
pure spirituality was present in our first parents which perfected 

86 Occult Phenomena 

and strengthened the ordinary human powers of the soul, we 
are nevertheless anxious to attempt a further proof, and for this 
it will be necessary to enter upon a fairly detailed explanation 
of the great dogma of original sin ; in doing so it is by no means 
the writer's intention wholly to deprive it of the element of 
mystery, but, following modern scholarship, to make it some- 
what easier to understand. 

Original sin, the sin of our first parents, inherited by all their 
posterity, consists formally in the deprivation of sanctifying 
grace with which man had been endowed by God and which he 
lost both for himself and for the whole human race — as indeed 
is plainly stated in St Paul (Rom. 5. 12) : "As by one man sin 
entered into this world and by sin death ... so death passed 
upon all men in whom all have sinned." 

Let us pause for a moment at these words "all have sinned". 
(The Greek aorist yjixaprov denotes the beginning of an action 
and not a state.) The difficulty, as it seems to me, is not that 
all men should be punished, for it often happens in the world 
that posterity is punished because of the guilt incurred by an 
ancestor. In the case of original sin, however, we are not only 
all punished, but we are all guilty. We have all committed the 
sin and incurred the guilt and all are in a state of sin and have 
accordingly been robbed of grace, so that not even children can 
be saved without baptism. 

The difficulty becomes even greater when the theologians tell 
us— and quite rightly — that original sin must be for us a free 
act of the will (when theologians such as Bartmann^ or Konig^ ^ 
tell us that it is not a free act, they would seem to be in error) . 
It must be a free act of the will if it is to be a real sin at all, 
even if it is only an habitual state of fallen nature, because sin 
is a free and knowing transgression of a divine command. How 
then can it be that original sin is a free act of the will for us ? 

The theologians are well aware of this difficulty, for the 
element of free will cannot simply derive from the fact that 
Adam is the physical principle of the human race. That is why 
certain other theologians believe that a contract subsisted 
between God and Adam according to which God would only 
grant grace so long as Adam remained obedient. 

1 Lehrbuch der Dogmatik, I, 297. ^ ZKT, 1950, pp. 105 fF. 

Occult Phenomena 87 

But apart from the fact that there is no proof of the existence 
of any such contract, it would still not explain how it caused 
our present deprivation of grace to be an act of the free will. 

Yet others come somewhat closer to the truth when they say 
that God had included the will of all men in the will of Adam 
who was also juridically the head of the human family, and that 
for this reason all men must be held to have consented to his 
sin. St Thomas [De Malo, q. 4, a. i) says that man must not 
be treated as a single person but as a member of the human 
race (German: der menschlichen JVa/Mr= (literally) of human 
nature), which has its starting-point in Adam, as though all 
men were a single man {ac si homines essent unus homo) . 

This is as far as the theologians had got, but modern man is 
anxious to know how it is possible for all men to be one man. 
How can they psychologically represent one will in such a way 
that original sin would become a free act by every member of 
the race ? 

The only way of giving a certain answer to this question is 
to refer back to the pure spirituality of our first parents, a 
spirituality which would in part have been inherited by their 
descendants; to the latter there would also have passed that 
capacity for being influenced, that noopneustia, of which the 
writer spoke when he showed how angels partake of the know- 
ledge of angels higher than themselves by illumination, and 
having partaken of that knowledge, obey them. They are 
influenced with a degree of power which we simply cannot 
imagine — a fact that has led Fr Gredt actually to deny that they 
can be so influenced at all. This noopneustic power rested in 
Adam who would have been spiritually one with his son (who 
in his turn would have been similarly one with his own children) 
and would so have influenced that son that he would have been 
wholly obedient to his father's will. This will would have been 
passed on from generation to generation, and would have 
determined the wills of posterity precisely as the wills of the 
higher angels determine those of the lower ones — or as the will 
of the hypnotist influences the will of his subject. Thus we 
would have been born with the same disposition of will as 
Adam possessed. This does not mean that Adam influenced us 
before we ever existed, but that he would have influenced his 

88 Occult Phenomena m 

son, and that son would then have influenced his own children," 
etc. There would have been unity and peaceful accord in every 
respect, an accord that would have grown stronger as Adam's 
posterity grew more numerous; strengthened in goodness, all 
men would have influenced each other for good and so men 
would have been happy and at unity with each other, "being 
of one mind one towards another" (Rom. 12. 16), "cleaving" 
ever more "to that which is good" (Rom. 12. 9). Any deviation 
from this, though physically possible, would have been im- 
possible morally, or would at the most have only been possible 
in matters of little importance, in so far as this was necessary 
for the assertion of free will. This accord would have been firm, 
instantaneous and irrevocable, of the kind we have already 
noted in the case of pure spirits. Thus the will of posterity was 
actually contained within the will of Adam, so that his sin 
became our own, Adam's posterity was infected, "being prone 
to evil from . . . youth" (Gen. 8. 21) and "sold under sin" 
(Rom. 7. 14). Adam's sinful act thus became actually morally 
and psychologically our own. Dr J. Berrenberg 1 succinctly puts 
the matter thus: "Because our first parents could act through 
their children as today no hypnotist can act through his subject, 
thus conversely the children, so long as they had not entered 
existence out of their parents, were acting in those parents." 

One cannot validly object to this that it causes our actions 
to be predetermined, for the mere physical possibility of acting 
in a manner different from that in which one ultimately acts is 
sufficient to make free will a reality, even though the moral 
possibility of thus acting differently is no longer present — as is 
the case in the avoidance of venial sins. To gain heaven it was 
not necessary for every individual himself to decide in favour 
of the good ; it was sufficient for our first parents to have done 
this for him and for his own nature to carry out that decision, 
as indeed in the case of original sin the decision of our first 
parents was the determining factor. If such a spiritual con- 
nection is not assumed, and one merely speaks of a condition 
which is displeasing to God,^ it becomes necessary to impose 
excessive limitations on the freedom of the will. Thus we 
encounter the paradox of an involuntary state of sin, for it does 

1 Das Leiden im Weltplan, p. 364. 2 Konig, ZKT, 1950, pp. 47 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 89 

not help us to fall back on the fact that the state of grace is also 
something that is not willed by us, since one may accept what 
is a gift, but the same does not apply to the acceptance of guilt. 
There only remains the punishment (without guilt), and as a 
Catholic one cannot reconcile oneself to that. That was the 
heresy of Abelard and certain others. 

From the fact therefore that original sin partakes of the 
character of a free act, we deduce a relatively close connection 
between the will of Adam before the Fall and that of his 
posterity, we deduce a direct noopneustic connection of souls 
without any mediation of the senses, a connection of a kind that 
only subsists between pure spirits and one which came to an end 
after sin. Man lost his element of pure spirituality, because 
through that, by reason of his capacity for being influenced 
(see p. 29), the whole human race would have been miserably 
dragged into sin. The dividing wall of individualism was 
necessarily a consequence of sin. In this way the Catholic 
doctrine of original sin provides an indication that our first 
parents, in addition to their human nature, also possessed as the 
basis of their preternatural gifts that of pure spirits together 
with all the faculties appertaining to the latter which we have 
enumerated above. Let us now see what became of these gifts. 


[In the Fall man lost his preternatural gifts (as well as the super- 
natural) but not his natural powers. Something, however, must 
obviously remain when these natural powers are destroyed by 
death or dimmed by sleep, since the spiritual part of the soul still 
survives, and that something consists of the vestigial remains of the 
spiritual powers originally enjoyed.] 

ALL TOO quickly everything was changed. We know of the 
. tragic fall of our first parents, by reason of which we all 
suffer. According to the ethnologists, the sin of our first parents 
consisted in their refusal of the first-fruits, their refusal, that is 
to say, to offer the first, best, and most important fruits to God 
and thus to recognize him as the supreme Lord of Creation. 
God had necessarily to insist on such recognition.! 

This seems to be the place to give some explanation of this 
conception of the testing command, which has furnished so 
many puzzles for us. Over the course of centuries theologians 
have taken great pains to study this question and have set up 
a number of theories to try and find an answer to it. Th^ most 
plausible of these is that contained in Fr Wilhelm Schmidt's 
ethnological approach [op. cit.), for it is the most natural and 
rests upon an exact scientific foundation, which anyone is free 
to examine. 

Fr Schmidt's starting-point is the fact that it is among the 
oldest peoples, among the most primitive cultures, that is to 
say, that one finds a world-wide extension of the so-called 
offering of the first fruits. This derives from the duty men feel, 
before they use or enjoy any of the gifts of nature, of giving 
the first portion to God. By doing this they express their 
recognition of him as their Lord and also express their thanks. 
They cut a piece off the quarry they have just killed and throw 

1 Cf. Fr W, Schmidt, " Die UrofFenbarung als Anfang der Offenbarungen 
Gottes", in Esser-Mausbach's Religion, Christentum und Kirche, Vol. I. 

Occult Phenomena 91 

it into the forest "for the great spirit", or alternatively they 
refrain from eating the first-fruits of a tree, because — to quote 
one example — "Puluga, the God of the Andamanese, requires 
them for his nourishment". Fr Schmidt has proved that this 
practice of offering the first-fruits exists amongst nearly all 
primitive peoples in one form or another ; he has done this in 
his great work Ur sprung der Gottesidee [Origin of the Idea of God ^ 
of which ten volumes have so far been published, 19 12-1952, 
Aschendorf, Miinster). 

This idea is also found in the Bible. We are expressly told : 
"Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat" 
(Gen. 4. 4), which means that he gave the best he had, "and 
the Lord had respect to Abel and his offerings". (When we are 
told of Cain that "he offered the fruits of the earth" (Gen. 4. 3), 
then we can read between the Unes that it was no longer the 
best (the first-fruits), but something that he did not happen to 
want for himself — which shows up his character and gives the 
reason for his rejection.) 

Now Abel already belongs to the pastoral stage of civilization, 
in which men had to labour to look after their animals, when 
they did not find life as easy as in the hunting and foraging 
stage, in which the man simply went hunting, while the woman 
gathered fruits, and nobody was concerned with the cultivation 
of any kind of crops or trees. But from the ethnological point of 
view it is quite certain that the idea that everything comes from 
the great spirit who must have thanks rendered to him by 
sacrifice cannot have come into being during the time when 
man was already performing the labour of a herdsman and 
cattle breeder in order to supply himself with food. This idea 
clearly derives from an age when everything fell into his lap 
without effort on his part, that is to say from the hunting and 
foraging stage of civilization. Thus we must go farther back than 
Abel, to the most primitive stage of culture which was in point 
of fact that prevailing at the time of our first parents, the stage 
where the woman concerns herself with the fruits ("and the 
woman saw that the tree was good to eat . . . and she took of the 
fruit thereof" — Gen. 3. 6), while the man busies himself with the 
beasts (God brought "the beasts ... to Adam to see what he 
would call them" — Gen. 2. 19). It is at this stage that we would 

92 Occult Phenomena 

expect to find the genesis of the idea of the first-fruits and those 
scholars are probably right who give this interpretation to the 
testing command : "Of every tree of Paradise thou shalt eat . . . 
but of the tree in the midst of Paradise . . . thou shalt not eat" 
(Gen. 2:9, 16, 17) but shalt abstain from its fruits so that thou 
mayest know that "I am the Lord" (Leviticus). 

Once we take this view of the testing command, it loses that 
arbitrary and even capricious character that seems to attach to 
it. God had necessarily to demand from rational beings that 
they should recognize the fact that he himself was the absolute 
being, and that man with all the rest of creation remains 
dependent on him. As evidence of this recognition, some 
symbolic act was required, and it is precisely this requirement 
that was met by the sacrifice here described, a sacrifice which 
was ultimately extended to the first-born. This then had to be^; 
redeemed by other sacrifices, as we find still in the New Testa- • 
ment in the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. 

This provides us with a simple explanation of the real gravity > 
of the disobedience in question, namely of the eating of the 
forbidden fruit. We are here not concerned with the eating of a 
small piece of fruit, but with the refusal to recognize God as the 
supreme Lord of all. 

The first member of the human race refuses this recognition 
by the act of appropriating to his own use the fruits of the tree 
in the middle of Paradise, and in doing so makes use of creation 
according to his own desires, as though he were himself the 
lord of all. This act of disobedience represented the complete 
reversal of order, an act of rebellion and revolt by which the 
Creator was rejected and condemned and the creature unlaw- 
fully assumed the mastery. 

The consequences of such an act could only be terrible. Man 
lost the love and friendship of God, he lost sanctifying grace 
and the infused virtues, lost all the gifts that were designed to 
elevate, strengthen and perfect his nature. That nature there- 
fore now remained dependent on itself and, being thus weak- 
ened, came under the domination of matter (Wisdom 9. 15) 
which made life more arduous by labour, sickness, suffering and 
death. Scholastic philosophy summed up these consequences in 
the following words: "Having been robbed by sin of the gifts 

Occult Phenomena 93 

which did not belong to his nature, man was wounded in the 
natural gifts themselves" and "In the pure gifts of nature man 
was not wounded". These two sentences seem at first to be 
I contradictory and are evidence of a certain fumbling un- 
fcertainty on the part of the theologians ; for these saw on the 
I one hand that reason and will must have been weakened, 
idespite the fact that these are part of our human nature. Yet 
if an actual weakening of the nature that is proper to man is 
{assumed, other problems arise which are difficult to resolve. 
It is thus worth while to examine the matter somewhat more 

One thing seems certain — that man lost all that pertained to 
;the supernatural; sanctifying grace, that is to say, and every 
other quality that he could not claim in his own right. It is 
equally certain that all that truly pertained to his nature was 
retained by him, his body, his soul, his senses, the vegetative 
sensitive and intellectual life. 

What happened now to his preternatural gifts? As has 
already been explained, these were the faculties and powers of 
a pure spirit; that is to say, they belonged to the nature of pure 
spirits. A pure spirit is immortal, is not subject to suffering, can 
influence matter, has an understanding that knows all things 
to which it directs its attention with absolute clarity, and 
possesses a will which holds fast to all that is presented to it by 
its understanding. It does not tire, forgets nothing, and so on. 
The preternatural character of these gifts did not consist in the 
gifts themselves, but in the circumstance that they were given 
to man although the latter was not himself a pure spirit at 
all ; he consisted, it is true, of a spiritual soul but possessed a 
material body which had been "taken from the earth", 'l^his 
preternatural element also was lost by original sin — man, as 
such, that is to say, or his soul, in so far as the latter was bound 
up with his body, completely lost all preternatural gifts. This 
is the common opinion of theologians, which we have no 
desire to dispute. 

If, however, it is true that the natural powers remained 
unimpaired [naturalia Integra manserunt) and if the faculties 
alluded to above are proper only to pure spirits, the logical 
conclusion is inescapable that they are proper to the soul in so 

94. Occult Phenomena 

far as, and to the extent that, that soul has parted from the body 
or has even to a Hmited degree been separated from it. It is 
from this point of view that we must understand man after the 

Psychologically what happened to him was this : his under- 
standing was darkened, but this does not apply to his natural ij 
understanding which he could put to use by means of the senses 
and through which, by means of abstractions from his sense 
perceptions, he could know of the existence of God and of his 
law and also cognize the things of this world ; what it means is 
that that extra-ordinary help from the spirit-soul disappeared 
which was designed to perfect his purely human understanding 
and by means of which he could directly apprehend the essence, 
the nature of things and become aware of dangers to his life ; 
man's understanding now remained dependent on his body and 
on his senses {non est in intellectii quod non fiiit in sensu) and, 
being thus very limited in its capacity, constituted a very 
imperfect instrument. Moreover even of that little knowledge 
that it was able to acquire, it forgot a large part owing to the 
weakness of the physical organ. Admittedly, of those things 
which it forgot, a certain memory remained in the subconscious, 
but this it is almost incapable of using. All that remains of 
the effects displayed by the powers of the spirit-soul are only 
fragments and rudiments of a once almost angelic faculty. 

Sin also weakened man's will ; not that his natural will was 
impaired and so ceased to be free — as Luther thought — but 
that preternatural help was no longer available for it from the 
spirit, so that the will lost its previous dominion over the body, 
its freedom from concupiscence, its power over matter, and ceased 
to be immune against diseases and death. It lost all such help 
from the spirit-soul and was thrown back upon itself. It also lost 
its direct influence on others, the noopneustic power of pure 
spirits, through which all men as a result of such influence 
(p. 87) become as one man and are confirmed in goodness and 
happiness. Instead of all this, the will became subject to matter, 
while concupiscence drew it towards evil, and a great part of 
human action was wholly withdrawn from its influence — such 
for instance as the involuntary acts of the vegetative hfe. Its 
ability to exercise direct influence on other men also ceased. 

Occult Phenomena 95 

How difficult it is to influence another by advice, by command- 
ments, laws or agreements ! So poor a thing has the sometime 
paradisal will become, weakened, as it has been, by sin. 
Because man has upset the ordering of the world and sought 
to make himself the lord of all, refusing to recognize the over- 
lordship of God, God, as a punishment, has in his turn upset 
the true order and left man under the dominion of matter. All 
this provides an answer to the question as to how we are to 
understand the passage from the declaration of the Council of 
Orange (Denz, 174) and also that of the Council of Trent 
(Denz, 788), according to which man "deteriorated both in 
body and soul" as a result of original sin. Neither body nor 
soul themselves deteriorated in their natural faculties, but they 
were robbed of the aid of the preternatural gifts and could 
therefore no longer achieve what they had previously achieved. 
Nevertheless certain roots of the paradisal gifts still remain, 
and of these God makes use to return a part of that which has 
been lost. Thus it became possible, on the strength of the 
potentia obedientialis, that man at a later stage should once more 
obtain supernatural divine sanctifying grace. As shown above, 
despite the loss of the preternatural gifts, there still remained 
the soul itself, which in so far as it loosened its connection with 
the body, re-attained that pure spirituality which enabled it to 
experience the revelations of God and in the exceptional con- 
ditions of the mystic state to speak directly with God, When in 
that state men perform their acts of knowledge after the manner 
of pure spirits and also perform miracles which serve to reveal 
the power of God. Admittedly on such occasions some kind of 
withdrawal of the senses can usually be observed, so that sense 
perceptions, and indeed the whole of our normal life, tend to 
recede ; certain other consequences also ensue. This very with- 
drawal, however, is the bridge which we must cross if the spirit- 
soul is to be activated. This means that if the soul is to act 
more or less as it acted in Adam, it must be released from the 
body, either completely as in death, or at least partially, as in 
that state of removal from sense life which we call sleep. Being 
aware of these facts many seek to produce an artificial state of 
sleep through hypnosis or trance, in order thus to attain new 
forms of knowledge or perform unusual feats. In doing so they 

96 Occult Phenomena hiI 

rely on the roots or rudiments of preternatural gifts. Yet these 
rudiments are not of much use — rudiments rarely are — and 
their use tends to damage the natural powers. 

People have often asked why concerning ourselves with the 
occult should be dangerous or harmful. Here we find the 
answer ; it is the fall of man that has turned everything upside 

A theologian! has called these rudiments "residual powers" 
{Restkrdfte) left over from Paradise. It is now our task to present 
their different forms. Philosophers of all ages from Plato to 
Hartmann have, as we saw above (p. 39), been vaguely aware 
of these extraordinary powers of the soul, without really knowing 
either their origin or extent — which last we must now discuss in 

Thus theology and profane science have worked together to 
produce a rounded picture of the spirit-soul. Basing itself on 
actual experience and experiment, science has attained to an 
admittedly somewhat vague conception of a "subconscious", 
an "ego", a "psychic power", a "soul" that is more or less 
independent of the body, though that soul is still almost always 
vaguely interpreted in material terms. Theology, however, by 
delving into revelation and drawing its theological-philosophical 
conclusions therefrom, is able to tell us much more precisely 
that this something of which men have become aware is a spirit 
which has certain quite distinctive attributes. Admittedly this 
spirit no longer exists in its original freedom, but has become 
hampered as the result of an infinitely tragic breakdown, and 
can only occasionally peer forth at us when it contrives to free 
itself in some measure from that which holds it prisoner and 
push the bonds which contain it aside — unless, that is to say, 
it attains through the riches of redeeming grace to the freedom 
of the children of God. 

Let us make a brief exploration of this twilit territory, so that, 
as by a glimmering light, we may at least guess at the greatness 
of this fallen cherub, and so take one little step forward in our 
knowledge of the nature of the spirit. 1 

1 Dr Berrenberg (Thomas Molina), Das Leiden im Weltplan, p. 356. 

Part II 





[We have now completed the deductive approach to the problem and 
can examine in greater detail the various types of occult phenomena 
and see how they fit the general theory outlined above. We have 
seen that the vestigial remnants of our lost powers tend to revive 
when the life of the body and the senses is slowed down. This occurs 
in the various forms of sleep, each of which produces slightly 
different types of phenomena which we shall proceed to examine in 

The activity of the spirit-soul manifests itself in ordinary sleep 
in our dream-life (Chap. I, a). Much of this dream-life is little more 
than a kind of froth and its significance is negligible, but in the 
deeper stages of sleep dreams can represent a genuine functioning 
of the powers of the purely spiritual element within us and are 
based on real spiritual powers of cognition. There are numerous 
examples of this on record, several of which are quoted by the 
author, and one of the most interesting among them is the dream 
of Bishop Lanyi on the morning of the Sarajevo assassinations, which 
were the origin of the First World War. Such dreams often seem to 
have a prophetic character, but this semblance of prophecy is 
usually an illusion. Where they appear to forecast the future as they 
sometimes do, it will generally be found that the dreamer is merely 
making inferences from some fact which his latent, purely spiritual 
powers enable him to apprehend, or that, by virtue of those powers, 
he has become aware of the inferences or anticipations of another. 
This last point is of great importance for the Catholic, in so far 
as the Church has consistently taught that not even angels can 
foresee the future, which can only be revealed by a special divine 

The spirit-soul also asserts itself in the phenomena of natural 
] somnambulism (b)— the author designates it as "natural" because 
it arises out of the normal activities of our dream-life. In such a 
state, however, the subject develops powers of perception otherwise 
than through the senses, e.g. the ability of the sleep-walker to know 
his way in the dark. In addition to natural somnambulism, there 
is also artificial and pathological somnambulism, which is dealt 
with later.] 

100 Occult Phenomena 

WE HAVE now examined the faculties of a pure spirit and 
of the body-free and partly body-free soul ; we have also 
become acquainted with the preternatural gifts of our first 
parents, gifts whose remnants today lie buried in the sub- 
conscious and are nothing other than the faculties of the spirit- 
soul, which was before sin still able fully to perform its functions. 
We must now examine the rudiments of the above-mentioned 
powers as they are observable in fallen man, for these rudiments 
come to view, though only to a limited extent, in certain con- 
ditions where the senses have withdrawn, and they do this to 
a degree that enables the soul to free sufficient of its powers for 
it to occupy action stations that have been lost. 

In sleep, whether it be natural or artificial, pathological or 
mystical, the senses are dimmed, either partially or completely ; 
(even when the individual concerned seems to be awake, a 
certain numbness is unmistakable), and the soul then, being 
partly body-free, attains extraordinary powers. The first effect 
of this is that certain senses attain an unusual sharpness 
(hyperaesthesia — when certain senses are put out of action, 
others become sharper ; blind people for instance acquire a very 
delicate sense of touch and hearing) . After this, however, the 
effect of this reawakening of the powers is to enable the soul to 
use its purely spiritual faculties to absorb mental suggestion, 
to direct the vegetative life, to heal disease and to engage in all 
those other activities which were mentioned above. These 
phenomena for a long time seemed so astonishing that men 
ascribed them to the direct intervention of God, or alternatively 
to the demons, or left them without any explanation at all. Yet 
the concept of the spirit-soul is by itself sufficient — except in 
cases of possession or of the genuinely mystical state — to explain 
all these things. 

Sleep is a state in which all our vital functions are by stages 
inhibited. Our awareness of the outside world is the first to 
disappear ; this occurs through the gradual repression of our 
sense of sight, touch and hearing; after this there disappears the 
consciousness of our acts and of the ability of our will to direct 
them. The causes of such putting out of action of the waking 
personality are partly physiological and partly psychological. 

Occult Phenomena loi 

The first consists in the withdrawal of the blood from the surface 
of the brain into its interior and in the accumulation of the 
products of fatigue which are got rid of through the blood by an 
exceedingly complicated set of chemical processes. These sub- 
stances are the products of the disintegration of muscular 
albumen, of kenotoxin, which for over a century has been used 
in medicine in the inducement of artificial sleep (narcosis). It 
is known today that the state of sleep can also be induced purely 
psychologically through rousing the mental image of sleep, 
which then produces actual sleep by the ideodynamic law. 

Sleep is known as the brother of death. The latter is the 
separation of the soul from the body, and in sleep something 
similar occurs ; the soul is not wholly separated from the body, 
but its activity is repressed. Bodily movements cease, then sense 
perceptions, sight and hearing are the first to disappear, after 
which there follows the sense of touch; the vegetative life 
becomes slower, only the life of the spirit remains, of which we 
are normally not conscious and which can concentrate itself on 
certain specific conditions of the body, so that we may become 
aware of an approaching disease. As a result of this diminished 
organic activity the cells of the brain can rest. 

Actually our mental life is a dual one ; there is the life of the 
corporal soul, which still has to make use of the organs of the 
body, and there is that of the spirit-soul in which the soul 
reaches out beyond the body and consequently makes less 
demand on the nerves of the brain ; the activity of the corporal 
soul fatigues the body to a greater extent than does that of the 
spirit-soul. Sleep brings rest by stages. Medicine speaks of sopor, 
somnolence and coma, numbness, sleepiness and complete loss 
of consciousness. In numbness one can already perceive a 
raising of the threshold over which all impressions must pass 
[eine Erhohung der Reizschwellefur alle Empfindungen) , an increasing 
difficulty of apprehension, a change in the processes of thought, 
which now become disconnected, and a disturbance of the 
perceptive faculties. These groups of symptoms are also 
observable in other disturbances of consciousness though not in 
so complete a form. When sleep is induced by suggestion, it 
passes gradually from the artificial to the natural. 

It is because the life of the spirit-soul (when it is really the 

102 Occult Phenomena 

spirit-soul that is at work) makes less claim on the nerves of the 
brain, that one can observe a diminished need for sleep m 
persons of genius and even in lunatics. Mystics can pray 
through an entire night without neglecting their duties durmg 
the day. Scholars will also study through an entire night with- 
out noticing it. The astronomer Andreas Gerafa, S.J., had 
always to be reminded by his servant that it was time for sleep, 
because otherwise he would not have gone to bed. One day 
the serving brother came to remind him to retire. In the 
morning he came again to wake him. "Yes, yes," said the good 
Father, "I'll go to bed at once." He had worked through the 
whole night without noticing the passage of time. Myers tells 
the story of a chronic maniac who, after a hard day's work as a 
sailor, would sit chatting all night long on his bed. During the 
day he showed no signs of sleepiness and after six weeks of this 
life had lost no weight. As against this, mental activity, in so 
far as it makes demands on the body at all, can tire it very 

(a) the natural dream 

Since the soul itself does not tire, it need not rest, but is 
continually active even during sleep; this activity shows itself 
in the dream hfe in which the soul often unfolds a very consider- 
able power. The process is a perfectly natural one. The waking 
state is characterized by the fact that some external object cor- 
responds to our perception thereof, and this is what contrasts 
it with pure imagination. In sleep our attention is no longer 
paid to external objects but is withdrawn therefrom, as was 
explained above, and the pictures of the imagination gam the 
upper hand. We call this state dreaming and it often occurs m 
our waking state, when we no longer pay attention to external 
reality and deliver ourselves over to our ideas and the pictures 
of our fancy, when we build castles in the air— which means 
that we give free rein to our imagination, so that our sense 
perceptions and our rational will are put out of action. As far 
back as the thirteenth century St Thomas summarized the 
whole matter as follows : Cum offeruntur imaginariae similitudines, 
inhaeretur eis quasi ipsis rebus, nisi contradicat sensus aut ratio. ^ 
1 De malo, III, a. 3, ad g. 

Occult Phenomena 103 

In actual sleep dreaming becomes the dream proper, in 
which the senses are almost completely put out of action, and 
the images and ideas do not pursue any rational purpose at all, 
but appear arbitrarily without direction by the will. Immediate- 
ly after going to sleep and before waking up dreams are caused 
by falsely interpreted sense perceptions. These are called dreams 
of half sleep or "dreams of them that awake ".l They mean very 
little. In them the soul experiences sense perceptions, but since 
it has been deprived of the possibility of judging them, it 
interprets them wrongly. These dreams are therefore for the 
most part folly, even though they sometimes represent symbols 
of fact. Thus for instance we have the case of a person who 
dreamed she was undergoing an operation on the foot. After a 
few days a wound actually appeared on the foot which 
necessitated an operation. In this case the existence of the 
malady had made itself known in sleep. Since the soul has been 
removed from the senses, it is able to experience certain feelings 
with greater ease (hyperaesthesia), but gives them a faulty 
interpretation. Most dreams are dreams of half-sleep, "froth", 
as the proverb says. It is true of them that "dreams are a brief 
madness and madness is a long dream". 

In deep sleep things are different, when all sense perceptions 
have been withdrawn and the soul approaches the partly body- 
free state, in which it receives back a part of its purely spiritual 
faculties. This is when true dreams occur, the dreams that were 
called oveipos by the Greeks — the word is reputed to mean 
"saying the facts", if one may believe this etymology. This does 
not mean that the dreams are always "pure thinking" — that 
is to say, that they lie outside the sound and images of words 
(though dreams of that kind exist) ; they are imaginative callings 
to mind of things that are sensually perceptible — that is pieced 
together from optical, acoustic and sensitive impressions. The 
Romans were themselves acquainted with the nature of the 
true dream, as we can see from Horace's line : Post mediam 
noctem, quando somnia vera. In this condition the soul apprehends 
without the instrumentality of the senses, remembers things of 
which it has been previously aware and draws them out of the 
subconscious and often shows a surprisingly accurate grasp of 

1 Psalm 72, 20. 

104 Occult Phenomena 

the truth. Examples are on record of scientific problems being 
solved (by Professor Lamberton, by the zoologist Agassiz, and 
the Assyriologist Hilprecht), of secrets being revealed and 
warnings given ; all of these things tend to strike us as extra- 
ordinary, but are not difficult to explain by the concept of the 
spirit-soul. It is worth observing that dreams often come to us 
with a wealth of creative imagery and compelling detail which 
must derive from an unlimited memory and great suggestive 
power — a memory and a power to which we cannot attain in 
our waking state. It is because people do not distinguish between 
deep sleep and half sleep that their views on dreams often 
diverge so widely. 

Let us look at a few examples of the suggestive power of 
dreams. Malfatti tells in his book on The Human Soul and 
Occultism of a Tirolese who reported himself to the police and 
confessed to having set fire to the house of his neighbour ; the 
police found that there had been no fire and that the man had 
only dreamed it. Taine tells of a gendarme who dreamed after 
an execution that he had himself been executed and ultimately, 
as a result, tried to take his own life. Professor Perty tells the 
story of a Mohammedan doctor who recovered his health after 
taking some medicine that had been handed to him in a dream. 
Such dreams can be transmitted from one person to another. 
Thus Podmore tells of a student who in a dream saw his bride 
with a swollen face. It subsequently transpired that the lady 
had suflfered from toothache on the night in question and had 
been in bed with a swollen face. Father Lacroix relates the 
following experience on the part of his friend Magid Baruch in 
San Gonzalo (Brazil) in 1923. This man was the owner of a 
draper's shop, and lived with his family in a house in the next 
street. One night he dreamed that two persons had robbed this 
shop. He saw the robbers quite clearly and could note their size 
and other distinguishing marks and also their clothes. One of 
them was white and the other black. He woke up in a state of 
great excitement and said to his wife: "We have been robbed. 
I saw the robbers in my dream." 

Early in the morning his brother came and knocked at his 
door. Mr Magid said : "You have come to tell me that we have 
been robbed." "Quite true," said the brother. 

Occult Phenomena 105 

The police were informed and immediately communicated 
with the surrounding districts, and after one or two unsuccessful 
attempts the robbers were discovered and arrested, the stolen 
goods being recovered. Since the arrest had taken place in a 
neighbouring community, eight or ten people who were, of 
course, in ordinary civilian clothes were impressed to escort the 
prisoners. Magid went to meet them out of curiosity and was 
able from quite a distance to identify the two culprits, for they 
were the same men whom he had seen in his dream. 

In the year 19 14, in Wels, in Upper Austria, the monstrance 
with the Host inside it was stolen from the parish church. In 
the night a girl who was working as a servant with the local 
nuns had a dream and saw the sacred Host in a refuse heap. 
She directed the digging and the Host was found and solemnly 
taken back to the church. 

In the year 1910, nineteen-year-old Mrs Lopanson of 
Chicago saw in a dream that her brother Oscar had been 
murdered by a neighbouring farmer. At her insistent request 
investigations were begun, and everything turned out as she had 
said. A rather similar story concerns the writer Beuer, who 
perished in the Messina earthquake ; his body was found as the 
result of a dream. 

People often talk of so-called warning or prospective dreams. 
Myers gives us an example of one relating to Colonel Reynolds, 
who saw in a dream that a nearby bridge was defective. After 
close examination it was found that the foundations had been 
almost completely undermined and that parts had been washed 
away. Moser tells of a gardener who wanted to offer a high 
price for a piece of land but learned in a dream that the owner, 
who was a neighbour of his, was going to offer it for half the 
sum, and a few days later she actually did so. 

Sometimes coming events are actually foreseen in dreams. 
Thus early in the morning of i8th December, 1897, the actor 
Lanes dreamed of the murder of another actor Terriss, and the 
murder actually took place on the evening of the same day. 
Most people have heard of the dream of Bishop Dr Joseph 
Lanyi, who dreamed at 3,15 a,m. on the morning of the 28th 
June, 1 9 14, that he had received a letter from the Archduke 
Franz Ferdinand in which the latter notified him of his own 

io6 Occult Phenomena 

murder. At half-past three in the afternoon he received news 
of the assassination at Sarajevo. Since 1938 the following 
account by the Bishop has been circulated in the press : 

At a quarter past three on the morning of the 28th June, 
1 9 14, I awoke from a terrible dream. I dreamed that I had 
gone to my desk early in the morning to look through the 
post that had come in. On top of all the other letters there 
lay one with a black border, a black seal and the arms of 
the Archduke. I immediately recognized the latter's writing, 
and saw at the head of the notepaper in blue colouring a 
picture like those on picture postcards which showed me a 
street and a narrow side-street. Their Highnesses sat in a car, 
opposite them sat a general, and an officer next to the 
chauffeur. On both sides of the street there was a large crowd. 
Two young lads sprang forward and shot at their Highnesses. 
The text of the letter was as follows : "Dear Dr Lanyi, Your 
Excellency, I wish to inform you that my wife and I were 
the victims of a political assassination. We recommend our- 
selves to your prayers. Cordial greetings from your Archduke 
Franz, Sarajevo, 28th June, 3.15 a.m." Trembling and in 
tears I sprang out of bed and I looked at the clock, which 
showed 3.15. I immediately hurried to my desk and wrote 
down what I had read and seen in my dream. In doing so I 
even retained the form of certain letters just as the Archduke 
had written them. My servant entered my study at a quarter 
to six that morning and saw me sitting there pale and saying 
my rosary. He asked whether I was ill. I said: "Call my 
mother and the guest at once. I will say Mass immediately 
for their Highnesses, for I have had a terrible dream." My 
mother and the guest came at a quarter to seven. I told my 
mother the dream in the presence of the guest and of my 
servant. Then I went into the house chapel. The day passed 
in fear and apprehension. At half-past three a telegram 
brought us the news of the murder, l 

There may be a certain temptation to see in this dream a 
case of genuine prophecy, made possible by the intervention of 

1 Moser, Okkultismus, p. 467, My own explanation is of course different 
from that of Moser, who is not influenced by any dogmatic considerations. 

Occult Phenomena 107 

a higher power, but closer examination of the facts suggests that 
there is no necessity to see in it anything of the kind, for the 
dream, though surprisingly accurate in some respects, is never- 
theless inaccurate in others, and it is precisely these inaccuracies 
that are illuminating. 

First, as to the points on which the dream is accurate. The 
most important of these is the fact that the bishop saw the exact 
spot where the assassination took place. This was at the corner 
of the Appel Quai and the narrow street leading to the (as it 
was then) Franz Josef's Strasse. This, however, was the obvious 
place for an attempt on the Archduke's life. According to the 
original plan the Archduke was to travel along the Appel Quai 
to the town hall, and on his return journey was to travel back 
along the Appel Quai, turn into the narrow street referred to, 
and then pass along the Franz Josef's Strasse. This would mean 
that his car would have to slow down at the corner of this same 
narrow street and so he would become an easier target for an 

In point of fact, after the bomb had been thrown earlier in 
the day on his journey to the town hall — he escaped on this 
occasion without injury — it was decided to change the plan and 
cut out the journey along the Franz Josef's Strasse, which shows 
clearly that the authorities were alive to the fact that the 
corner of the narrow street was a particularly dangerous point. 
The Archduke and his wife were actually killed there because 
the chauffeur of the Burgomaster's car, which was preceding 
that of the Archduke, misunderstood his instructions and started 
to turn into the narrow street. When his error was pointed out 
to him, he stopped and so brought the Archduke's car to a halt 
at this critical place, and the Archduke was immediately shot, 
together with his wife. 

The second point on which the dream is so surprisingly 
accurate is that it showed a general sitting opposite the archducal 
pair. The general in question was General Potiorek, the 
regional commanding officer. It is, however, quite probable that 
this fact, being part of the official programme, would have been 
known in advance to quite a number of people, including some 
of the conspirators. 

There are, however, two serious inaccuracies in the dream. 

io8 Occult Phenomena 

The first is that it shows two assassins shooting at the archduke, 
whereas only a single one shot at him on this occasion. The 
second serious inaccuracy is the fact that an officer was seen 
sitting next to the chaulTeur. Now according to the programme, 
Count Harrach of the Motor Corps, the owner of the car, should 
have been sitting in that position. In actual fact, however, he 
was standing on the left-hand running-board of the car, a 
position which he had taken up in order to protect the Archduke, 
this decision resulting from the incident earlier in the day. 
Unfortunately he was on the wrong side. 

We thus see that the facts in regard to which the dream was 
so accurate (the position of General Potiorek and the dangerous 
character of the point where the assassination was carried out) 
were things of which a number of people, including the con- 
spirators, might have been aware before the assassination, 
whereas the points on which the dream was erroneous all 
related to matters which would not have been foreseen in 
advance, for the fact that only a single assassin fired a pistol 
was something that may well have been out of keeping with the 
general picture of coming events which the conspirators had 
formed in their minds. 

Actually no less than six men had been posted to make an 
attempt on the Archduke's life, of whom some lost their nerve, 
a possibility upon which the conspirators might have reckoned. 
One, of course, used a bomb, but the decision to use a bomb 
may not have been taken at the time of the dream (3.15 a.m.). 
We know that the distribution of weapons did not take place 
till the morning of the assassination and that the assassins were 
allowed to choose their own weapons. It may well be that the 
leaders of the conspiracy, though they were ready to supply 
bombs if required, nevertheless did not particularly want them 
used. Bombs are dangerous and uncertain things and are liable 
to kill innocent bystanders — in this case possibly sympathizers 
with the Greater Serbia movement — and may thus antagonize 
potential friends. That being so, it is quite likely that at the 
time of the dream the attack was visualized by its organizers 
as one to be made by two or three men using pistols. It was no 
doubt this general picture that the Bishop's dream reflected. 
It was in fact a very remarkable case of telepathy, but nothing 

Occult Phenomena 109 

more than that. It was not prophecy in the true sense of the 

A word may well be in place here on the subject of the real 
and supposed foreknowledge of coming events. Theology, of 
course, teaches us, as we have seen, that such coming events 
cannot be foreseen in advance even by spirits, but since dreams 
do often appear to foreshadow the future, or at any rate since 
it often happens that things dreamed about actually take place, 
there is a tendency to regard such happenings as instances of 
prophecy. Yet the truth is quite different. What really happens 
is that when we come across a case where events turn out in 
such a manner as to appear to confirm a supposedly prophetic 
dream, we pick on such cases and conveniently forget about the 
others, where our dreams have proved to be quite erroneous. 
We thus get the illusion of a genuine prediction, although 
actually we are dealing with no more than coincidence ; at any 
rate the number of bull's eyes is not large enough to justify the 
belief that anything beyond the law of averages has been at 

There are, however, cases where this explanation is in- 
sufficient. Certain details are often foreseen in a manner that 
cannot be accounted for by the operation of mere chance, and 
such phenomena may be explained as follows. When considering 
spirits, our ideas of time and space must be applied quite 
differently than to a bodily being, a truth which seems to find 
confirmation in the fact that dreams often proceed at a tre- 
mendous speed and even with disregard of the actual sequence 
of time. Thus, for instance, we may dream of a whole sequence 
of events that are causally connected with one another and end 
with a whistle or a shot, and this sequence has obviously been 
set going by the ringing of an alarm clock. The dream in such 
a case could only have begun at the first ringing of the alarm, 
yet this is also the final effect in the dream of a whole sequence 
of causally connected events. Thus Weygandt dreamed of 
taking a walk on a Sunday morning, of visiting a churchyard 
near a church, of meditatively contemplating this church and 
of hearing the church bell suddenly begin to sound. The 
dreamer then awoke to hear his alarm clock ringing. The 
circumstances seem to indicate that the dream was only set 

no Occult Phenomena 

going by that sound, i In view of these things it has been asked 
whether we do not perhaps experience as a sequence of con- 
secutive events what in reaUty is an ocean of simuhaneous things, 
and thus cut our subjective years and centuries out of the time- 
less absolute. The kind of foretelling that we are here dealing 
with scarcely reaches beyond the life of the individual con- 
cerned. Let us then keep to this short span of time, and assume 
that our whole earthly life is really an instantaneous but very 
complicated phenomenon. Let us assume that my transcen- 
dental ego sees all the elements in this phenomenon directly and 
immediately, but that my empirical ego only sees them 
indirectly by means of mediating agents which in varying 
degrees produce a time lag, so that my experience is like that 
of hearing the thunder after I have seen the lightning. Einstein, 
when dealing with the fourth dimension, time, says that our 
judgment and comparison of periods of time is wholly relative. 
Moreover the present is not just a point but a continuum 
stretched out over some six to twelve seconds, which is gathered 
together by us into a unity ; this last is done by our soul which 
acts through the body.^ In this connection we may usefully 
draw attention to the Scholastics who also speak de instantibus 
of the angels and say that with these there is no such thing as 
time in our sense of the word, despite the fact that there is a 
consecutive sequence of acts of thought and will and that an 
instans or moment lasts a longer time with them and is not, as 
with ourselves, over in a flash. We should also at this stage 
mention Jung's ^ idea that the co-ordination of the various 
dream-images, as distinct from their content, occurs outside the 
categories of space and time and does so without being subject 
to the law of causality. 

The soul that has been separated from the body, and also 
that which has only partly loosened its connection there- 
with, might well have to deal with such a duration, and so be 
able at a glance to see things which to us in our normal life are 
looked upon as belonging to the distant past or the equally 
distant future. If we take this view, warning and prospective 

1 Lindworsky, S. J., Experimentelle Psychologie, p. 286. 

2 Frobes, Experimentelle Psychologie. 

3 Cf. Jacoby, Die Psychologie Karl Gustav Jungs. 

Occult Phenomena n i 

dreams would appear to be more natural and even more 
intelligible. 1 

The dreams of deep sleep are thus functions of the con- 
templating spirit-soul that has almost entirely freed itself from 
its body. They may often give us knowledge of facts to which 
we cannot attain through the normal activities of the corporal 
soul. We shall see presently how this became a ground of 
suspicion against witches.^ The activities of the soul in this 
connection are, however, not confined to such supranormal 
apprehensions but extend to sleep-walking. 

(b) natural somnambulism 

Sometimes dreams can be so vivid that the dreamer begins 
to speak or sits up in bed. It may even happen that, following 
the ideomotor law, he begins to enact what he has dreamed. 
We must note, however, that this is not to be interpreted 
in a crude anatomical sense, but as a mere impulse toward 
movement within a cellular or even an atomic structure. The 
result of this is somnambulism, which is designated as "an 
enacted dream". This last can be artificially produced by 
suggestion, so that the passive dream passes into the active one 
and increasingly resembles the manifestations of hypnosis, 
which is a kind of artificial somnambulism. 3 

There are various stages and kinds of natural somnambulism. 
What seems to be constant throughout them all is that sense 
activities are diminished, or put out of action altogether ; the 
hyperaesthesia of which some people speak on these occasions 
is in actual fact only apparently present ; it has in reality been 
replaced by the supra-sensual faculties of the spirit-soul. 
Thanks to this, the somnambuUst moves with the greatest 
assurance in the darkness, carries out real acrobatic feats by 
walking about on roofs, feats which in his waking state he 
would never be able to perform. He writes in the dark and 
carries out manual work, talks with those present, finds the 
answers to problems that he is set, finds mistakes in a monthly 
account, distinguishes between colours with great exactitude, 

1 More will be said of this when we deal with the subject of prophecies, 
pp. i6i fF. 

2 P. 123. 3 More of this later, p. 233. 

1 1 2 Occult Phenomena 

sees objects of microscopic size which in his waking state he 
would have been unable to distinguish. All talk about hyper- 
aesthesia, cryptoscopy and the like, and all efforts to explain 
these things in such terms is vain. One always ends, with such 
hypotheses, in having to admit that an unexplained residuum 
remains. It is only the concept of the spirit-soul that gives us 
anything that is at all satisfactory by way of elucidating them. 

Father Lacroix tells us a story of his friend Magid in which 
we have a perfectly natural act of apprehension performed in a 
dream, the dream being followed by sleep-walking, i One day 
Magid entered his shop and noticed that a number of expensive 
ties were missing. Since there was a circus on in the market 
place, the idea came to him that one of its employees had stolen 
the goods. It was six o'clock in the evening. Without a hat and 
looking like a somnambulist, without saying a word to anyone 
and appearing almost demented, Magid rushed off to the 
circus, ran to the artists' living-quarters, took a ladder, climbed 
up and stretched out his arm and found behind a number of 
packages the box containing the ties. It was only when he was 
descending the ladder with the box of ties in his hand that he 
observed that other people were present. He then said : "Some- 
body has brought these ties here by mistake; they belong to 

All this is natural enough and is a consequence of the spiritual 
character of the soul, which enters upon its rights as soon as it 
has become at least half-free of the senses. These manifestations 
have nothing to do with the devil. God, who sometimes joins 
his graces to the gifts of nature {gratia supponit naturam), some- 
times makes use of this state of the soul in order to dispense 
his gifts of grace. "An angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to 
Joseph, saying 'Arise and take the child and his mother and 
fly into Egypt'." 2 Yes, God even promised such states of soul 
to his people as a great grace: "Your old men shall dream 
dreams and your young men shall see visions. "3 

Nevertheless it is not contended that the knowledge we gain 
in dreams is a more perfect thing than that acquired by us in 
the normal way. It has already been made sufficiently clear that 
the faculties alluded to above are nothing more than pitiful 

1 Der Spiritismus, p. 140. 2 Luke 2. 13, 19. ^ Joel 2. 28; cf. Acts 2. 17. 

Occult Phenomena 113 

remnants of a perfection that belonged to men before the coming 
of sin ; moreover a man very rarely remembers all that has 
appeared to him in a dream, and if he does so remember, it is 
often difficult for him to express in words the purely spiritual 
and what he has seen in images, for words are abstract concepts 
derived from sense perceptions and such concepts never fully 
adapt themselves to spiritual reaUties. Other states of sleep also 
occasionally pass over into somnambuUsm, and that is why 
we can distinguish, apart from natural somnambulism, an 
artificial somnambulism (especially in post-hypnotic manifesta- 
tions) and a pathological or hysterical somnambulism. People 
even speak of the ecstatic or mystical state as a fifth form of 
somnambulism,! "in which the upsurge of the soul and its 
sovereign power over the body attain their most sublime 

It is even said that drops in temperature have been observed 
in the proximity of such somnambulists, and that there have 
often been streams of cool air. If such statements should be 
substantiated, the effect can only derive from some "reordering 
of physical energy". 

1 Moser, Okkultismus, p. 872. 



[Among the phenomena of pathological sleep and somnambulism 
we must class certain states of day-dreaming, in which the senses 
are chronically dimmed, and the subject, who tends to go about in 
a kind of waking trance, enjoys powers of what is sometimes quite 
valid extra-sensory perception. The Spokenkiekers of Westphalia 
(a) are a case in point. 

The author also reckons the phenomena of hysteria (b) as falUng 
under those of pathological sleep, in so far as the perceptions of 
reality are distorted, while the subconscious influences the physical, 
making to some extent use of the mechanism of the spirit-soul. 

The phenomenon of witches' dreams (c) , so widespread throughout 
the Middle Ages, is even more aptly ranged under this head. Here 
the sensory mechanism was deliberately distorted and in part 
narcotized by drugs, which in their turn played havoc with the 
mental life. This dimming of the senses did, however, sometimes 
genuinely have the effect of releasing the dormant powers of the 
soul, and witches often saw things by clairvoyance which were 
actual facts, though they tended to misinterpret what they saw. 

The medium (d) is another allied type, usually a person of 
hysterical disposition whose subconscious is unduly active, while his 
sense perceptions tend to be distorted. The relevant phenomena are 
dealt with later. 

The activity of the residual spiritual elements of the soul, coupled, 
as such activity usually is, with an imperfect apprehension of 
objective reality, often is the essential stuff of madness (e). That 
madness and genius are allied is a commonplace. The author's 
theory helps to furnish an explanation for this fact.] 

IT IS possible that the section on natural sleep and dreams and 
particularly the passages on natural somnambulism may have 
raised the question in the reader's mind whether these pheno- 
mena can still be regarded as normal and healthy, or whether 
we have not actually passed over into the abnormal and 
pathological. Actually the transition is gradual and proceeds 
by stages. Numbness (of the senses) does sometimes very 

Occult Phenomena 115 

gradually become chronic and the person concerned begins to 
dream with open eyes. People pass slowly through this develop- 
ment in cases of second sight, in the various states of hysteria 
and in actual madness. 

It was mentioned above that the soul, as a spirit, forgets 
nothing that it has once learned. During life, however, it makes 
use of the body and of the convolutions of the brain in order 
to retain its experiences; but because bodily organs are very 
limited, much is necessarily forgotten, much, that is to say, 
must sink below the threshold of consciousness and remain 
stored up in the cells of the brain, one experience being packed 
above the other, so that these memories only exist on the 
spiritual side of the soul. 

Although, however, these impressions do not remain in the 
consciousness, they nevertheless exercise their often devastating 
effect on the entire man according to the ideomotor law. Thus 
the suffering of an insult at some time in the past will, even 
when the insult has been forgotten, cause the personality of the 
individual who inflicted it to appear unsympathetic, and a single 
experience will influence us in all our actions, in our character 
and our behaviour (Cumberlandism) ; it will influence our voice, 
our physiognomy, the lines on our hand (chiromancy) , the iris of 
our eye (eye diagnosis), it will influence the health of our body 
and of our soul. (Chiromancy and eye diagnosis are today 
treated as branches of genuine science.) 

(a) second sight 

A special form of these pathological dreams is to be found in 
the waking dreams which intermittently occur in the so-called 
second sight of the Spokenkieker in Westphalia and among 
similarly endowed persons in Scotland, the Tyrol, and other 
places where the inhabitants live far away from the noise and 
bustle of ordinary life and consequently lead a relatively 
monotonous life conducive to day-dreaming. In such people 
there is a natural tendency for sense perceptions to be dulled — 
as it is with the Indians or the Taoists of the Gobi deserts 
and the Druids or magicians in the woods. Such, by prophecy 
and healing, continually gain great influence over people. 

1 1 6 Occult Phenomena 

These visions are usually an intimation that takes the form of 
an image,! or the subconscious is in a special way activated 
by particular surroundings. The gift vanishes when such 
people leave that territory, and returns to them when they 
themselves return. Such people are convinced that they will 
lose the gift if they reveal what they have foreseen, and they 
often do so for that very reason — in order to heal themselves, 
for they feel the gift to be a burden : sprich ein Gebet inbriinstig 
und echt,fur den Seher der Nacht, das gequdlte Geschlecht'^ (Oh, say a 
prayer, fervent and true, for the seer of the night, the tortured 
race), and Karl Spitta's mother speaks of the "sorrowful gift" 
with which her son was cursed. 

In the Otztal second sight is peculiarly endemic : In a 
village in winter [Malfatti tells us] all the members of a 
household sit round a fire, the men smoking, the women 
spinning. Suddenly two of the latter cry out aloud, "Did you 
see it too ? " — "Yes." And now they declare, confirming each 
"^ . other, that at such and such a place an avalanche has over- 
whelmed such and such persons together with their wagon. 
And the men immediately stand up, fetch their gear, go off 
on the rough, dangerous road to save what still can be saved. 
They are as certain that the subject of the vision is true as if 
they had been present at the actual event and had seen the 
whole thing with their own eyes.^ 

Dr Zur Bonsen, who wrote a book^ on this subject and 
followed it with a sequel (1920), criticizes Myers, who has also 
published on this theme,^ and says: "They (the Spokenkieker) 
completely dispelled any doubts I may have had about the 
genuineness of this phenomenon, the existence of which was 
confirmed both by tradition and reports of actual experience, 
and filled me with the same certitude that animated the late 
Provost of Cologne Cathedral, Dr Berlage, who wrote in 1908: 
'Those who foresee coming events are in my view transported 
into that condition which affects the soul, when it divests itself 
of the element of time and rises far above both time and space. 

1 Bessmer, Stimmen der ^eit, 76, 1909. 2 Droste-HiilshofF. 

3 Malfatti, Menschenseele und Okkultismus, p. 116. 

4 Das zweite Gesicht, Cologne, 19 10-19 14. 5 Xhe Subliminal Self. 

Occult Phenomena 117 

The seer and his gifts are for me a proof of the existence and of 
the spiritual character of the soul, Josef von Gorres took a 
similar view of the gift of second sight.' " 1 

Sound theology teaches that man can never know what is 
really future. He can only draw conclusions which are more or 
less certain and which postulate the operation of natural causes. 
Where, however, the future remains to be determined by free 
decision, he cannot know it, not even through the subconscious, 
the sphere of the partly body-free soul, for not even the spirits, 
the angels have such knowledge, but only God, and since one 
cannot always assume that God is himself miraculously acting 
in such visions, we must always in such cases endeavour to find 
another solution. 

Concerning second sight we may say this : where we are 
concerned with the knowing of the past, or the present, i.e. with 
something that is already an actual fact, this can be achieved 
by those people who live in a more or less perpetual state of 
trance. The case is different when they allegedly foresee the 
future. Since their visions almost always involve tragic happen- 
ings of some kind — fires, burials, serious mishaps and the like — 
it may well happen that a part of what they profess to foresee 
really comes to pass. The other happenings which they professed 
to foresee in their visions are forgotten, so that the impression 
ultimately remains that all that was foreseen actually happened, 
though in reality this was only true of a small percentage, when 
mere chance caused the thing foretold to occur. In any case 
people do not usually know what their visions mean. They see 
a fire, for instance, but it is only later, when something actually 
happens, that they relate it to the thing they have seen (see 
Staudenmaier ; Bessmer, S.J.). 

The visions of the Spokenkiekers are therefore not true 
predictions but pathological dreams, mixed with clairvoyance, 
of a kind that occurs under exceptional conditions. This does 
not imply that God does not ever grant men genuine prophecy, 
for many instances are on record. We have already spoken of the 
Sibyls. In recent times people always refer to Lenin's prophecy 
concerning the end of the Hohenzollerns and that of Malachi 
concerning the Popes. The most striking of all, however, is 

1 Cf. Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, p. 153. 

1 18 Occult Phenomena 

perhaps that of the Cure d'Ars, who said, "People will want to 
canonize me but they will have no time to do so because of the 
war that will have broken out," and indeed all was ready for 
his canonization in 19 14, but because of the troubles of the war, 
this was delayed till 1925. That we should treat the utterances 
of saintly persons in a manner different from that in which we 
treat the phenomena of second sight is a matter which is 
explained elsewhere. 1 

(b) hysteria 

Naturally enough we cannot here decide the purely medical 
question as to the actual nature of hysteria; we are here 
discussing it from the psychological point of view, from that 
of the action of the spirit-soul and of the subconscious. We have 
already discussed the suggestive power exercised by dreams, 
that is, of the purely spiritual activities of the soul over the body. 
In hysteria this power attains pathological dimensions. It can 
begin almost imperceptibly, so that one doubts whether the 
symptoms are actually abnormal at all, and may then progress 
to full hysterical mania. One could therefore well speak of 
hysteria as hysterical somnambulism, even though the sufferer 
seems to be fully awake. The patient's corporal soul is partly 
asleep and is therefore impervious to rational processes of 
thought, while the subconscious exercises its devastating 
influences on the body. Hysterical sleep falls into the category 
of half-sleep dreams and must be due to some psychic or 
physical cause. 

Medical science defines hysteria as a disturbed condition of 
the nerves whose anatomical nature and seat it does not yet 
know. It has thus become the "lumber room for the medically 
inexplicable", and the tendency is to enumerate under this 
head the most varied and even mutually contradictory 
symptoms. The name is usually derived from the Greek varipa 
(womb) and this brings it into connection with certain sexual 
states of the female body. 

Dealing with the matter from the point of view of psychology, 
which is concerned with the spirit-soul, we must necessarily 

iP. 115- 

Occult Phenomena 119 

locate the seat of hysteria in the subconscious, which in this 
case acts upon the human body in the incalculable manner of a 

The name is also derived from the Greek word varepov 
("later", or "behind") and also from varepeo) (to remain over) 
and thus clearly expresses the idea that the source of the malady 
lies behind consciousness, in the subconscious, where experiences 
that lie buried there exert their baneful influence on the person 
concerned, producing disease, mania, compulsive actions and 
eccentricities. It is certain that thoughts and emotions can 
produce organic changes such as blushing, loss of colour and 
sensual excitement. The word "emotion", with its notion of 
movement, is here peculiarly apt, for according to the psychia- 
trist Ebbinghaus, our thought and will can only have power 
over our motor apparatus as the result of kinaesthetic imagery.! 
In hysteria such imagery is present in the subconscious and 
exerts its influence on the patient's motor nerves. 

Hysteria and a hysterical character are therefore two differ- 
ent things. Hysteria is an abnormal psychical condition which 
occurs when psychical experiences bring correlated physical 
phenomena in their train, which then, either through interest 
or habit, become permanent and fixed. What we have to 
deal with are psychogenic functional disturbances of the body, 
based on the instinct for self-preservation or preservation of 
the race and usually brought into being by a "flight into 
disease". Niedermeyer defines hysteria as the faculty of pro- 
ducing psychogenic somatic disease symptoms, which he alleges 
originate in the subconscious. 2 

Since moreover these subconscious faculties are closely 
related to the purely spiritual powers of the soul, they are able 
to exert the same influence upon the body and on matter as is 
exerted by a pure spirit. As once the preternatural powers of 
man in Paradise influenced the body, so today the powers of the 
subconscious can do harm to a degree that resists every medical 
skill, and only disappear when the cause is removed from the 
spirit itself This is today attempted in psychoanalysis, in which 
Professor Sigmund Freud did such remarkable pioneer work, 

1 Grundziige der Psychologie, I, 719 ff. 

2 Handbuch der spezidlen Pastoralmedizin, V, B., pp. 87 ff. 

1 20 Occult Phenomena 

although this scientist almost entirely nullified what he had 
gained by asserting, in accordance with the pansexual ideas of 
his time, that only repressed sexual desires were hidden in the 
subconscious, and that these need only be awakened and 
satisfied for the patient to be healed. 

Scientists like Alfred Adler,i Maurice Rappaport,^ Alexis 
Carrel,3 Fr Josef Donat, S.J.,4 reject the Freudian conception, 
partly because of its forced interpretation of the facts, and also 
because of its disproportionate emphasis on the sexual element, 
particularly in the case of children. "In regard to this last," 
writes the liberal Alfred Lehmann,^ "Freud may have had a 
more ample field of observation in Vienna than is normally 
available to those engaged on research, and thus have become 
somewhat one-sided in his outlook. He certainly cannot be 
considered very greatly to have increased our understanding of 
the psychological relevance of our dreams or our proficiency 
in applying to their analysis the many latent elements in our 
psychic life, elements which in many instances reach far back 
into the past". Freud's thought therefore seems on the whole too 
narrow. For all that, however, he has pointed the way toward 
an understanding of the power and dangers in the subconscious 
and has thus helped us towards the possibility of curing these 
diseases. Frankl in his " Logotherapy " correctly carries on the 
line of reasoning. The attempt is being made to reawaken the 
impressions that lie in the subconscious, to analyse them, and so 
to get the whole process of thought to run correctly, and in this 
fashion to effect a cure. A few examples may serve to elucidate 
what has been said : 

A girl who was very fond of reading was suddenly seized 
'■* with a completely inexplicable loathing for this pursuit. Psycho- 
analysis disclosed that once while she was reading a book, she 
suddenly saw the house in which her sick father was living in 
flames. She ran to the place in terror and could only save her 
father with great difficulty. The experience remained in her 

1 Individualpsychologie. 

^ Sozialismtis, Religion und Judenfrage, Vienna-Leipzig, 19 19. 
3 Der Mensch, Stuttgart, 1937, p. 282 : "Freud has done more harm even 
than those scientists whose outlook is completely mechanistic." 
** Vber Psychoanalyse und Individualpsychologie, Innsbruck, 1932. 
5 Aberglaube und ^auberei 3, Stuttgart, 1925, p. 553. 

Occult Phenomena 1 2 1 

subconscious and was the cause of the feeling of loathing in 
question. Psychoanalysis corrected her judgment, and the 
morbid idea disappeared. 

A young man of blameless life suffered under the handicap 
that he blushed whenever there was mention of a theft in his 
presence, or of any circumstance that might suggest the 
suspicion of such a thing. As a result his friends began to think 
that he had something on his conscience. Once when he was a 
boy he came under suspicion of having stolen a sum of money, 
, and although the true facts of the matter were soon discovered 
and his innocence established, nevertheless the suspicion of his 
honesty caused so profound a spiritual disturbance that he 
could never banish the fear that he might again be accused of 
such a crime. He therefore blushed on every occasion. It 
needed the whole of the psychoanalyst's skill to talk him out 
of his fear. 

A well-bred woman was in the habit of continually washing 
the water-taps in the house. Sometimes she got up at night to 
repeat this washing, although she had already done it just before. 
While she was a child she had seen a sick dog lick a tap and 
.had felt such repulsion that she had acquired the habit in 
question. Medical skill opened up her subconscious mind, partly 
with the aid of hypnosis and partly without it, and thus 
administered the necessary corrective action. 

The uncanny characteristic of the subconscious is that it acts 
"nonsensically", since, like the dream, it lacks the leadership 
of reasons. The latter draws its experience from sense percep- 
tions, and to these it must again submit its judgments. The same 
process is artificially repeated in psychoanalysis, and thus 
inferences which were originally erroneous are corrected. 

We can draw an inference from the nature of the cure as to 
the character of the actual disease. In so far as action on the 
subconscious contrives to remove the disturbances, it follows 
that it is in the subconscious that these are to be found, and our 
general suspicion — down to the very derivation of this word — 
seems to be confirmed. Therefore, however many symptoms 
one enumerates, and however much doctors may feel under an 
obligation to direct their attention to the individual bodily dis- 
abilities and to distinguish between different types of hysteria 

122 Occult Phenomena 

in their diagnoses, there can be no more doubt as to the basic 
nature of the disease. The essence of hysteria is that certain 
ideas which have taken crude symboHc shape have become 
fixed in the unconscious part of the (spirit) -soul, and that these 
act upon the body and influence its health. A true therapy 
must therefore not confine itself to bodily symptoms but must 
seek the seat of the disease in the unconscious, and must seek 
to discover the concrete idea that is the cause of the disturbance.! 

We might usefully make an addition to this general con- 
clusion by discussing another matter which has become topical 
through the large number of appearances of the Blessed Virgin 
which have recently taken place. This is the so-called Eidetik, 
which frequently occurs among children at the age of puberty. 
It consists of the circumstance that impressions that have been 
previously received aflfect the imagination so vividly and are so 
translated by that same imagination and endowed to such an 
extent with verisimilitude and movement that the persons con- 
cerned genuinely believe that they are having a vision. The 
psychophysical causes are the same as those of hysteria, i.e. 
impressions which have become fixed in the subconscious aflfect 
the body as in hysteria and produce functional disturbance of 
the optic nerves so that a psychogenic image results before the 
individual's vision. In the much discussed Heroldsbach case, 
for instance, it has been proved that the children saw pictures 
of biblical history, or other pictures that existed in the neigh- 
bourhood, in the form of a vision which was so vivid that they 
were convinced of its objective reality, and remained so 

Much experience and a very subtle discernment are necessary 
to distinguish such eidetic images^ from genuine visions. Thus, 
for instance, when the children in Heroldsbach saw the Holy 
Trinity, they reproduced a picture that hung in the local 
presbytery showing the Trinity with Our Lady in front of it. 
The children represented their vision as consisting of three 
persons, but their confused memory caused them to see Our 
Lady as one of the persons of the Trinity. They also saw the 
figure of the dove above it. When cross-questioned, they became 

1 See below p. 202. 

2 ei8ajAov=a thing seen, a picture: eiSojU,at=to see {video). 

Occult Phenomena 123 

uncertain and declared that the Holy Ghost, "the dove", 
could be left out — otherwise there would have been four 

When one compares the certitude of St Bernadette or of the 
children of Fatima with this kind of thing, the difference is clear 
enough, though ordinary folk are not always very ready to 
recognize it. 

Admittedly the matter becomes more complicated when these 
eidetic pictures are mingled with genuine visions. In such cases 
distinction becomes for all practical purposes impossible. The 
Church therefore explicitly states that the canonization of a 
saint does not mean that she recognizes all his visions as 
genuine. Very few visions are admitted by her. 


We have all heard of the epidemic of witches' dreams in the 
Middle Ages, dreams which the dreamers mistook for reality, 
and which, of course, sometimes actually contained an ad- 
mixture of truth. Thus a certain witch dreamed that she had 
murdered a child of a family that lived some hundred miles 
away, and accused herself of this crime before the judges. These 
in their turn started enquiries, and found that the child had 
actually died that night. What really happened was that the 
witch had seen the child's death in a true dream, and had quite 
erroneously ascribed it to her own sorceries. The judges, who 
were of course completely ignorant of any scientific explanation 
of the phenomenon and who agreed that the witch could not 
have known of all the circumstances by lawful means, con- 
demned the woman to be burnt. The case can be looked on as 
typical, and we shudder when we reflect how many innocent 
people must have been condemned in this fashion. Most 
witches' dreams can be similarly interpreted — those for instance 
which led the dreamers to declare that they had attended a 
witches' Sabbath and presumably experienced all the sensual 
delights that this implied. Such dreams were the remnants and 
the results of vivid day-time fancies, reinforced by the witches' 
salve. This last was composed of belladonna and opium and 
was well calculated to produce hallucinations. Today things are 

124 Occult Phenomena 

rather different; today our anxious Christendom dreams up 
visions of the mother of God. Since 1931 no fewer than thirty- 
one cases involving some three hundred alleged appearances of 
Mary have been the subject of ecclesiastical examination and 
the great majority have been completely rejected. From the 
eastern states there have come since 1945 some two thousand 
reports of miraculous happenings, prophecies and other forms 
of solace for displaced persons who have been driven from their 
homes. People find comfort in these things as they do in the 
eidetic phenomena described above. It would therefore appear 
that Christian morality is today on a somewhat higher level, 1 
although the belief in witches is still said to persist in such 
places as the Liineburger Heide.^ 
Schneider 3 writes in this connection: 

If we seek for a cause of these sad and ugly hallucinations, 
we can discover both a physical and a psychic one. In the 
days of the witches the craze for sorcery, which till then had 
hidden itself in darkness, had seized on the masses like a 
plague. The physical means which helped this ruinous mania 
to spread were the narcotic potions and salves. The salves 
are described in considerable detail by Johannes Wierus 
(Weier), the personal physician of the Duke of Cleves, in his 
book De praestigiis daemonum et incantationibus ac venejiciis, libri 
IV (Bale, 1563). Weier was a Calvinist and one of the first 
opponents with any influence of the witch trials. The salves 
were chiefly made up of wild celery [Apium palustre) , wolf's 
bane [Aconitum lycoctonum) , poplar, birch and other ingredients; 
often the juice of deadly nightshade and henbane were added. 
The salve induced sleep and numbness, and was also 
reckoned as a safeguard against witchcraft. The magical 
character of what were accounted the most important herbs 
in witchcraft appears to some extent in their names — wolf's 
milk {Euphorbium) (also known as devil's milk), devil's claw 
[lycopodium clavatum), etc. For the conjuring of the weather, 
witches used traveller's joy {Clematis vitalba) and cornbind 
{Convolvulus arvensis) — the German names are devil's thread 

1 Orbis catholicus, 1952, p. 497. 

2 See Siiddeutsche ^eitung, 30.8.1952. 

3 Der neuere Geisterglaube, pp. 74 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 1 25 

and devil's gut — and besides this there were ramping 
fumitory, horse elder, wormwood, red spur-valerian and 

In the old pharmacopeias and medical books, 1 there is a 
whole host of prescriptions against witchcraft and diabolical 
assault. Among these anti-magical preparations there is fre- 
quent mention of a magic balsam and of a smoke powder. 
Particularly famous among magical herbs were St John's 

fwort, the juice of which was administered to witches to make 
them confess under torture. The use of this herb was already 
\ known to the pagans and was in the nineteenth century 
employed by the seer of Prevorst in the preparation of 
amulets. Devil's bit scabious [Morsus diabolic or scabiosa 
succisa) was also among the herbs used for anti-magical 
purposes. For the use of aphrodisiacs, see Freimarck [Hexen- 
salben), also Schrenck-Notzing, who has dealt with the 
important role played by narcotic drugs in hypnotism, with 
especial regard to Indian hemp (Leipzig, 1 89 1 ) ; see also 
Anthropos, 1935, 276, on Die Peijotewurzel. These salves 
engendered feelings of lust, hallucinations, visions of spirits, 
and opened the door of the soul to magic, as it was at that 
time understood. Aconite, according to Cardanus, produces 
the sensation of flying, while atropin causes horrific spectres 
to appear, and thorn-apple, used in the preparation of 
I philtres, incites to voluptuousness. 

These allegedly magic preparations, derived as they were 
from ingredients that were particularly harmful to man, 
easily th rew out of control the female orgamsmand brought 
it Jo that_ loathsome form of ecstasy known as the witches' 
sabbath, which culminates in a kind of devilish antithesis to 
jJiat Jeiider_aaid^i^eal_biidaL relation, itself a product of 
special grace, that subsists between Christ and the soul that 
truly loves God. The use of these physical stimulants soon 
became so widespread that the witch and her pot of salves 
became indissolubly associated with one another in the 
popular mind. A number of judicial enquiries have established 
the fact that there were substantial grounds for this wide- 
spread feeling. 

1 Cf. Horst, Ddmonomagie, Vol. II, pp. 305 ff. 

126 Occult Phenomena 

Moreover since these hideous fantasies of the witches' ride 
and the witches' dance actually became the subjects of plastic 
and pictorial representation, nothing could dispel the con- 
viction of these duped and unfortunate women that they had 
truly wantoned with the devil, kissed the goat, and assisted 
at all the other orgies of the witches' sabbath. Even after the 
original witch mania had died down, a kind of shadow cult 
of the witches' sabbath seems to have occurred in the form 
of the so-called Black Mass, though Freimarck tells us that 
there is very little record of any actual celebration of Black 
Masses except in the luxuriant imagination of literateurs. The 
remarkable thing in these cases is the persistence of the 
illusion. We get the same phenomena in hysterical people and 
in sufferers from typhus. Often such persons remain in- 
capable long after the time of the attack of distinguishing 
between their hallucinations and the real world. 

This is really what happened in the matter of these witches' 
dreams. They were often so vivid that the witches themselves 
persisted in believing in their reality. It was this that made 
them confess to their wholly imaginary misdeedsfT^t is of course 
quite true that had they not in their waking state had some 
desire for intercourse with the devil, and had they not when in 
that state made use of these disgusting drugs, their dreams 
would not have had this quality of intense vividness which we 
find in them over a period of some five hundred year^^' It is 
this unlawful desire and the acts for which it provided the 
motive that constitutes the tragic guilt of these poor women 
and also lends some slight justification to their persecution. 
Nevertheless all the tests applied during this time in the supposed 
discovery of witches — such tests usually depended in one way 
or another on the insensibility to physical pain — merely illu- 
strate that withdrawal of the senses which we have now come 
to recognize as one of the conditions for the functioning of the 
partly body-free soul and is the necessary means for this form of 
knowledge and dreams. 

(d) the medium 
Another form in which the subconscious manifests itself is in 
the activities of mediums which today have attained such a 

Occult Phenomena 127 

sorry notoriety. More will be said on this subject when we deal 
with artificial sleep ; it is mentioned here because these pheno- 
mena are often of a pathological kind. People are surprised 
when they hear of a medium disclosing things that till then had 
been hidden, or when they hear of them speaking in foreign 
tongues, though actually they obtain all this either out of their 
own subconscious or out of that of other people. That is why 
they have never really revealed anything new that could be of 
service to science. 

Professor Th. Flournoy in his book Des Indes a la Planete 
Mars gives a very instructive example of this truth ; he cites the 
case of the medium Helen Smith, who passed through four 
different phases. In the first of these her guide was a certain 
Leopold who had protected her when she was ten years old and 
was attacked by a large dog, and who now also took her part 
when in her mediumistic phases she was pestered by irre- 
sponsible boys. 

Later she represented herself to be the Indian princess 
Simondini who lived in the sixteenth century as the wife of an 
Indian rajah. Helen spoke Sanscrit and Arabic. Actually, how- 
ever, she had found the information about India in her father's 
Hbrary, where she had also read sentences in Sanscrit and 
Arabic, which, when in a trance, she brought forth from her 

On another occasion she invented a story about Marie 
Antoinette, in which she represented herself as the incarnation 
of the latter. She had in point of fact dreamed the whole thing; 
ever since childhood she had imagined herself to be the child 
of highly placed persons and believed that she had merely been 
handed over to another family for her upbringing. She found a 
symbol of her imaginative yearnings in the unhappy queen. 
Finally she believed herself to be in communication with an 
inhabitant of Mars and also spoke the Martian language, which 
turned out to be a debased form of French. All we heard from 
the said Martian was a selection of what was at the time already 
being written concerning the putative inhabitants of that 
planet. Thus it was in every case the subconscious and nothing 
else that came to the surface in her somnambulistic states. The 
woman herself died in a madhouse^ 

1 28 Occult Phenomena 

The example of this woman not only shows the extent of the 
influence of the subconscious but also the danger involved when 
it is permitted to usurp the place of the waking consciousness ; 
indeed this usually leads to complete madness. It has been the 
practice to intensify this putting out of action of the waking 
mind by various artificial means, such as suggestion and 
hypnosis. This has often been done, despite the existence of 
pathological hysterical proclivities, such as are in point of fact 
usually present in most mediums. ' 

Let us here confine ourselves to some of the more famous 
mediums, to those in fact who in their day, and particularly in 
the nineteenth century, attracted considerable attention. Since 
the first world war such people have tended more and more to 
diminish in number, for the phenomenon is bound up with the 
character of the time ; the witches had their day, as did the 
magicians before them. After the witches came the mediums. 
Today the typical figures are probably the eidetics, who 
certainly are much more harmless than the rest. 

Eusapia Paladino is generally referred to as the most famous 
of all mediums. She was born in Naples and was examined by 
Lombroso (i 836-1 909) and by other scientists in Milan, Paris 
and America, and produced all the usual phenomena that 
mediums at one time or another produce — luminosities, move- 
ment of objects, levitations, changes of weight, hallucinations, 
spirit messages, materializations, cold winds — and finally fraud. 

Another medium was Home, who was examined by Crookes 
(1832-19 1 9). He was the only medium who was never caught 
in any kind of fraud. He was himself a writer and did much to 
help expose frauds by other mediums. 1 Slade, who had good 
abilities, was repeatedly exposed as a fraud. 

We Austrians are particularly interested in the Schneider 
family in Braunau. Two of its sons, Willy and Rudy, showed 
mediumistic powers. They were examined by Schrenck-Notzing 
and were finally exposed by him. Today Rudy owns an auto- 
mobile driving school in Weyer and has lost all his old faculties. 
Frau Silbert in Graz attracted much notice among her friends. 
Unlike other mediums, who Hke to work in the dark, she dis- 
played her arts in the Hght. However, she descended to many 
1 Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism, Virtue & Co., London, 1877. 

Occult Phenomena 129 

theatrical tricks, so that in the end she was no longer taken 
seriously. For a time, however, she was studied by serious 
researchers and held in considerable esteem. 

The Hungarian Laszlo and the Dane Eynar Nielsen were 
caught in frauds. Eva C, who took a number of other names, 
Angelique Cottin, Gottliebin Dittius, the Polish woman 
Tomczyk, Kluski and Guzik, for some time attracted the 
attention of men of science; so did Erto, Kraus, Zugun, 
Vollhart, Margery, Millesimo and finally Mirabelli. 

If we speak of fraud here, we must distinguish between 
deliberate fraud such as was practised by Schneider pere in 
Braunau and the so-called mediumistic deceit which mediums 
practise quite unknowingly. These may know that some 
particular phenomenon is to occur, but they cannot bring it off. 
It is then that the subconscious starts to take a hand and, as in 
hysteria, sets the motor centres of the body going, so that these 
simulate the desired effect. This is why the activities of mediums 
and occultism in general are today in bad odour, and why so 
many serious men of science have quite made up their minds 
that they will have nothing to do with it. There is, of course, 
also the effect of the prevalent materialist philosophy, which 
may well fear for its survival once it starts busying itself 
objectively with the miraculous or the diabolical. 

The activity of mediums is therefore most certainly a patho- 
logical thing, though it can serve as a basis for a number of 
purely spiritual phenomena. 

(e) actual madness 

To show that this kind of dreaming can lead to the complete 
derangement of the mind, and that even in that state traces of 
the original paradisal powers would still be present, it would be 
necessary to write an entire book on psychiatry and this is not 
the writer's intention. A few illustrations may, however, be 
given. People say, "Children and fools speak the truth", which 
means that though the last-named are for all practical purposes 
incapable, they nevertheless sometimes, by means of a marvel- 
lous intuition, grasp truths that escape other people. In the 
medieval courts of the nobihty the court fool often played a very 


130 Occult Phenomena 

important part; he was allowed great freedom and often dis- 
played a degree of intuition which others did not possess and so 
was often able to declare truths by which the rulers were quite 
ready to profit. 

Such people are often actually invalids. Schneider l tells the 
story of the servant of a Spanish diplomat who was often present 
during important interviews on which his master was engaged, 
despite the fact that he was a man of very limited education. 
"Then one day he was attacked by a disease of the brain and 
now in his delirium developed the most brilliant ideas on the 
political interests of the various powers, so much so that his 
master began to believe that a hidden genius was here coming 
to light and decided in future to employ him as a secretary, but 
to his great regret the gift disappeared as soon as the brain 
malady was cured." 

A similar story, dating back to imperial times, is told in 
Brazil. Pedro II once was visiting a hospital and was accom- 
panied by a gentleman who gave him the most excellent 
explanations of the medical arrangements, the nature of the 
various ailments that were being treated, the probability of 
cures, etc., so much so that the Emperor marvelled and was 
actually considering him for a post of great responsibility. As he 
left he said a few words of appreciation, whereupon his learned 
guide remarked, "I can do more than that, I can crow like a 
cock", and the man immediately gave some powerful examples 
of this accomplishment. The Emperor now realized that the 
man who had displayed such intuitive versatility was actually 
a madman. 

Even the ancients knew how closely related were genius and 
madness. Thus Plato speaks in the Phaedrus of a "divine mad- 
ness" that was superior to all sober reflection. Cicero speaks of a 
furor poeticus and Horace of amabilis insania, Shakespeare of the 
poet's eye "in a fine frenzy rolling", Lamartine oi^'cette maladie 
mentale gu'on appelle genie'" ; Pascal says '^'^ U extreme esprit est voisin 
de ['extreme folie'", while Schiller, in a letter to Korner of 
ist December, 1788, makes this observation his own, and is 
glad of the "madness that is to be found in all creative spirits ".2 

Another thing that we can observe and that helps to illu- 
1 Der neuere Geisterglaube, p. 490. 2 Schneider, op. cit., p. 492. 

Occult Phenomena 131 

minate the truth about this matter is the fact that eccentricities 
and even manias are often the accompaniment of inventive 
genius. We are here concerned with persons who intuitively 
grasp a truth, but are unable to interpret it correctly and yet 
cannot shake themselves free from it; since they cannot 
translate it into practical terms they twist it into a mania, from 
which they cannot escape back into the world of practical reality. 

Fixed ideas and compulsive obsessions often have this origin. 
One could define these and indeed all manias as the results of 
acts of knowledge on the part of the purely spiritual soul which 
could not translate them into terms of ordinary life, and 
consequently failed to give them a correct interpretation. 
Demonomania arises from the fact that some persons become 
aware of the influence of the subconscious. Since they conceive 
of this as something essentially different from themselves, and 
even as something hostile to themselves, they believe that they 
are the victims of diabolical possession. That there actually is 
such a thing as diabolical possession is a matter which we shall 
discuss at a later stage. 

In all these conditions of madness, that condition of detach- 
ment from sense, of numbness, sets in which we shall also find 
in the various states of artificial sleep. It is indeed liable to 
become chronic, so that such persons are useless for the purposes 
of ordinary life. All this merely provides further proof of the 
danger involved in all the games played with and by mediums 
under hypnosis and in spiritualism generally and shows that 
they are quite liable to end in actual madness. 

The statement that madmen may possess the faculty of 
intuitive knowledge need not puzzle the reader, for the soul 
itself is never sick. Indeed, as a spirit, it is immune against 
sickness; only the body and senses can be thus afflicted. 
Madmen and mental defectives are either persons who have 
suffered some impairment — blind persons and deaf-mutes usually 
do not attain a mentality exceeding that of a fourteen-year-old 
— or they are "deranged" so that they cannot carry over the 
acts of the reason and the will into actual life, as they ought, 
but must twist them and correlate them incorrectly and so 
make them appear meaningless. 

Actually we distinguish between anaesthesia, hyperaesthesia, 

1 32 Occult Phenomena 

and paraesthesia, according to whether the sensibiUties of the 
patient are too sHght, too strong or erroneous — that is to say, 
if he has sense perceptions which correspond to no objective 
reahty but are imposed on him by the subconscious, as is the 
case with people under hypnotic influence. The imagination in 
such cases is tortured by hallucinations and illusions of the kind 
which Staudenmaier evoked artificially, there then ensue loss of 
memory, aphasia, perversions, distracted behaviour and the 
kind of irritability that afflicts the hysterical, also compulsive 
and maniacal ideas, phobias, various compulsive actions, 
cleptomania, pyromania, dipsomania (alcoholism), all of which 
according to the latest medical opinion owe their origin to 
invasions of the subconscious mind and can only be treated on 
that basis — assuming of course that there has been no actual 
physical damage. The patients are really in a state similar to 
that of sleep; the actions of the soul are uncontrolled and 

Madness [writes Mercier] has been called "the dream of 
the waking man" and it is a very long dream. In his normal 
state man has the power of directing the attention of his 
faculty of knowledge towards the cognition of things and of 
subordinating his acts to a willed and rational purpose, in a 
word, he is master of his will and understanding; that man is 
mad who has lost possession of the conscious and free ego. 1 

Obviously these states of partial sleep which dull the 
sensorium can also be due to bodily injury ; in such cases they 
can only be successfully dealt with by psychic treatment when 
the bodily defect has been removed. This last is admittedly more 
diflficult in the case of such notorious forms of neurosis as 
neurasthenia, psychasthenia, in which the actual nerves are in 
a diseased condition. A strong resemblance to dreamers is borne 
by schizophrenics and by many victims of mania. In such cases 
the influences of the subconscious can best be dealt with by 
one of the Freudian methods — at least in the initial stages of 
the malady : 

Freud's method [writes Donat] demonstrates the correct- 
ness of the theory that half-conscious psychic processes and 
1 Mercier, Psychologie, II, p. 206. 

Occult Phenomena 133 

those that have stuck in the unconscious memory and are 
reproduced from there, have a great influence on our inner 
Ufe, and also on disease ... it regards the whole man, his 
r development, and in particular his childhood, and seeks to 
form a correct estimate of the aptitudes, diflficulties and 
maladies from the whole picture thus obtained, and to treat 
them ; it strives diligently to penetrate to the hidden recesses 
of the inner life. It lays particular stress on the sub- 
conscious , . , and has made a considerable contribution to 

Nevertheless the defects mentioned above still affect the method, 
and it will only be after it has purified itself from these that it 
will be able to lead us to our goal. 

The further madness progresses towards amentia and 
paranoia, to feebleness of mind and idiocy, the less chance there 
is of eliminating the bodily impairments and so of creating the 
necessary conditions for psychological influence ; the rarer then 
also become the so-called lucid intervals, which constitute a 
kind of awakening ; still less then can we speak of intuitive 
perceptions in certain matters, a thing which in milder cases is 
sometimes to be observed and which thus lays bare the whole 
psychic mechanism in a manner which confirms the theory here 
set forth. We noted above that in the hour of death such lucid 
moments often occur when the perception is very profound 
indeed. This derives from the fact that the diseased parts of the 
body die first. The soul thus becomes free for the aforementioned 
perceptions — though unfortunately this is then too late. But 
this explains why even mad persons have often quite remark- 
ably wise insight into things in the hour of death. 

At the conclusion of this chapter we might add that at the 
moment research is being undertaken into the connections 
between mental derangement and extra-sensory perception. 2 
This is being done at Durham University, U.S.A., under 
Rhine 3 and at Innsbruck by Kock, Caruso and Urban.'^ No 

1 Donat, Psychologie, pp. 381 ff. 2 ESP, see pp. 69 and 152. 

3 J. B. Rhine, "Psi Phenomena and Psychiatry", in Proceedings of the Royal 
Society of Medicine, Vol. 43, 1950. 

'* Parapsychologie und Psychiatry, by H. J. Urban, in Poltzl Festschrift, 
Innsbruck, Deutsche medizinische Rundschau, 1949. 

1 34 Occult Phenomena 

agreed results have as yet been obtained. Rhine cannot show a 
number of positive results in excess of what might be expected 
from the general law of chance, but Urban has been able to 
show a much larger number, when the patients could be 
subjected to influences which dispelled their inhibitions, i.e. 
when they were put into a semi-soporific state, as was the case 
with schizophrenics after narco-analysis and electro-shock. 

These results entirely agree with the assumptions here set 
forth, since people, in so far as they are able still to have 
perceptions at all, are better able to perform intuitive acts of 
knowledge when their senses are dimmed than in a state of 
normal waking consciousness. 



[Artificial sleep by means of hypnosis, or self-induced trance, is one 
of the most important and one of the most successful means of 
calling occult phenomena into being. These are usually classified 
under the heads of telepathy (a) , clairvoyance (b) and the physical 
phenomena (c). Telepathy and clairvoyance are, in the author's 
view, the same, but contemporary opinion has tended to con- 
centrate on the phenomena that can be more appropriately 
classified under the first of these heads, because they appear to it, 
quite erroneously, to be explicable by the analogy of radio waves. 
The physical phenomena, telacoustic phenomena, usually known as 
raps (i), telekinesis, i.e. levitation of objects (ii), and the teleplastic 
phenomena (iii), materializations, apports, etc., seem only 
explicable, where they are not the result of fraud, if we accept the 
author's contention that the human soul possesses vestigially the 
powers of a pure spirit and so can act directly on matter.] 

I HAVE tried to establish the general principle that the soul, 
if it is to function as a pure spirit, must withdraw itself from 
the life of the senses. Such a withdrawal takes place chiefly in 
sleep. Even in their waking state, many people can lapse into a 
dream state that is more or less morbid and may find its 
expression in actual words and deeds. This occurs to an even 
greater degree in sleep, in which this day-dreaming becomes a 
dream in the ordinary sense of that term. Such a dream may 
become an acted dream, i.e. it may develop into somnambulism, 
which nciay gradually become morbid and chronic and may 
actually turn into madness. Since, however, certain phenomena 
occur in this state which give grounds for assuming a heightened 
spiritual life, people have hit on the idea of producing it 
artificially, as in trance and hypnosis. 

The techniques of producing such a state are various, and 
trance is to be distinguished from hypnosis by the fact that in 
the latter a person other than the subject has a part to play, and 
puts the hypnotized person under his influence and guidance ; 

136 Occult Phenomena 

trance is a form of self-hypnotism, and is regularly practised by 
those persons who produce occult phenomena. Such persons are 
called mediums, because they are supposed to act as inter- 
mediaries between this and "the other world"; for the most 
part they are already sick people, and tend, as we have already 
seen, to be nervous, distracted or at any rate erratic and 
unsteady in their psychological make-up. Their peculiarities are 
intensified in trance. 

Though in the case of more highly developed mediums 
appearances would seem to indicate that there was no trance 
at all, nevertheless such a state actually obtains in greater or 
lesser degree, so that in their case also one can speak of an , 
artificial sleep, and all of them confirm the curious fact, for 
which modern science can offer no explanation, that the experi- 
ments are the more successful, the more the waking conscious- 
ness is put out of action — which our theory would automatically 
lead us to expect. It is most rare (indeed, it only happens in 
the case of highly developed subjects) for a state of at least 
partial somnolence not to be required, if phenomena are to 
result. Three groups of extrasensory happenings are usually 
referred to, namely: telepathy, clairvoyance and physical 
manifestations ; and with these we now propose to deal. 

(a) telepathy 

Telepathy, that is to say, "feeling at a distance" {ri\os = 
far, 7racr;^etvpEo suffer or feelj, is defined as the influencing of 
one mind by another otherwise than through the organs 'of 
sense ('^mind~ acts on mind otherwise than through the 
recognized organs of sense", Myers and Gurney) ; many para- 
psychologists treat it as the only occult manifestation with a 
claim to serious recognition, while clairvoyance and physical 
manifestations are either ascribed to telepathy or written down 
as illusion and fraud. Telepathy is more favourably regarded 
because it is believed by some people to admit in the last resort 
of^^ physical explanation, for they imagine that the~com'- 
munication beTween the two souls takes place by means of^ 
invisible waves,^nalogous to radio waves, which emanate from 
the "transmitting soul" and are duly "received" by the other. 

Occult Phenomena 137 

We do not actually know anything of these waves, they say, 
but they must exist; they are a postulate which must be 
accepted, if the laws of nature are not to be violated, for when 
the least example of telepathy is established as a spiritual 
phenomenon, "the reality of the world of the spirit has been 
scientifically established" (W. Rathenau) and, to quote Jodl, 
"such transference of thought from one brain to another, 
without any perceptible physical agency being there to receive 
it, would imply the making of a rent through the entire 
structure of the sciences and, if compelling proof were to be 
established, would lead to a revision of our most fundamental 
conceptions".! In telepathy two souls are assumed,.jifjwhich_ 
one can be_ regardedraZl h^Jxansmitter and the other as the 
receiver,_but in clairvoyance only one soul is concerned, the 
receiving/Soul, which apprehends a lifeless object, though this 
last, according to the theory, can also transmit because the rays 
adhere to it like an infection, because it has been "bethought". 
Since this appears somewhat too far-fetched, clairvoyance is 
rejected out of hand — by such men as Baerwald, for instance. 
Baerwald's theory is thus shown to be wholly uncritical and 
one-sided. It is obviously, and in the deepest sense of the words, 
one which is not based on sound objective grounds at all, but 
merely on the arbitrary assumption that such a thing as clair- 
voyance must not be admitted to exist. Indeed so mild a writer 
as Driesch remarks that such a view seems so forced, and so 
governed by a preconceived opinion, that it does not deserve 
serious consideration at all.^ Admittedly Driesch himself goes too 
far, for, to explain the fact of clairvoyance, he postulates the 
spiritualist hypothesis. ^ 

However, not everything that calls itself telepathy is 
necessarily such. It would therefore be well to start by eliminat- 
ing the various phenomena which can be explained by fraud, 
conscious and unconscious, by illusion, faulty interpretation of 
fact, jugglery, Cumberlandism (muscle-reading), or in some 
similar manner. 

1 Jodl, Lehrbuch der Psychologie, Vienna, I, 166. 

2 Tischner, Ergebnisse okkulter Forschung, Stuttgart, 1950, p. 63. 

3 See Hochland, 1925-6, p. 93, in article " Parapsychologie und anerkannte 

138 Occult Phenomena 

Among the actual instances of a genuine influencing of soul 
by soul we must first of all take account of the phenomena of 
mental suggestion. That people could be influenced by being 
spoken to has always been known ; what has been in doubt is 
whether one person could be influenced by the thoughts of 
another when there has been no sense-perceptible sign by which 
the thought was communicated. Yet today it has been proved 
beyond any shadow of a doubt that this actually occurs. Mental 
suggestion is, as has already been indicated, a faint reflection 
of that intercourse of pure spirits which we called noopneustia. 

We have for instance this astonishing story: A medium by 
means of knocks elicits a communication. The supposed spirit 
says to a young man : "I am your aunt. When you were eight 
years old you sprained your ankle by falling off" a tree, up 
which you had climbed to get a bird's nest. I was the only one 
who knew about this incident, since you mentioned it to 
nobody, not even to your mother." Does this really mean that 
the deceased aunt was manifesting herself? Certainly not ! How 
else then can the thing be explained? Fr Heredia succinctly 
writes : "It is the human spirit which is able to read what is in 
the spirit of another." The communicating agent is simply the 
subconscious spirit of the person taking part in the seance. 
Memories of that day, the day on which he fell from a tree and 
told his aunt, were buried in that subconscious. Through his 
abnormal sensitivity the medium becomes aware of this influence 
on the young man's mind, and tells those present about it. 
This, or something very like it, is certainly my own explanation. 
The subconscious of the medium, while the latter is in a deep 
sleep, communicates directly with the spirit of the other person 
present, and so gains knowledge of the latter's thoughts, experi- 
ences, and even gets to know something about a place with 
which that other is familiar. 

Mediums have the art of drawing knowledge out of the 
subconscious of the persons concerned, even when the latter are 
not themselves conscious of possessing that knowledge at all. A 
priest who was present at a seance was told by the medium that 
the soul of a friend was standing by him, and the medium then 
proceeded to spell the alleged friend's name out in detail. The 
good father then said that the name was unknown to him, and 

Occult Phenomena 139 

that he knew nothing of the dead person concerned. It was only 
on the way home that he doubted the accuracy of his own 
statement, and began to wonder whether the man in question 
had not been a colleague of his at the seminary. Finally he 
looked at the annual list, and found the name of a student who 
had died some fifteen years previously. 

When confronted by such facts, uninstructed people believe 
that the medium is actually in communication with the dead, 
and that the dead person has really manifested himself 
Actually the truth is very different. What happens is that the 
medium reads something in the subconscious of a person, who 
may be close at hand or far off, and influences those at the 
seance, who must remain as passive as possible, so that they 
assist in getting the table to rap out the desired message. 

Bishop Schneider writes l : "It is stated that a purely mental 
suggestion is possible without any kind of sensory perception, so 
that all that is necessary on the part of the hypnotist is a simple 
act of the will, and he can thus send a person to sleep." So 
critical a scientist as Lowenfeld, the Munich neurologist, 
mentions various cases of so-called telepathy or suprasensory 
transmission of thought,^ while Dr Dufoy relates a most interest- 
ing case of influence exerted from a distance. This doctor 
contrived to send an actress to sleep in her dressing-room in the 
theatre ; the doctor himself was in a box unseen by anybody and 
the actress did not know of his presence. While exerting his 
influence upon her, he suggested to her that she should take 
over the part of a colleague who was ill — a part which she had 
seen acted, but not actually studied. The suggestion took effect 
at 10.30 p.m. According to Dr Dufoy's subsequent information, 
the actress, who was at this moment dressing, sank on to a 
couch and asked her dresser to let her rest a little. After a few 
minutes she got up, finished her dressing and went on to the 
stage, where, no doubt in a somnambulist state, she played the 
part with consummate skill. After the performance Dr Dufoy 
was compelled to awaken the actress, so that she could be 
present at a supper given by the manager. 

1 Der neiiere Geisterglaube, p. 1 1 7. 

2 Lowenfeld, Somnambulismus und Spiritismus, Wiesbaden, 1900, I. Heft, 
Von Grenzfragen des Nerveri' und Seelenlebens, pp. 37 tf. 

140 Occult Phenomena 

Fr Castelein quotes the example of a woman who vomited 
gall on certain days and was healed by Dr Dufoy by means of 
hypnotism. When later the disease recurred, he was again called 
in ; the woman recognized him when he rang the doorbell, and 
even when he turned into the street, so that later on he did not 
trouble to visit her at all, but treated her from a distance. He 
could even hypnotize and awaken her from a distance, a pro- 
cedure which he followed with equally unvarying success with 
other patients. Fr Janet made the same experiments and was, 
as he tells us, able to hypnotize simply by the power of thought. ^ 
Another doctor named Lelut relates the following : he ordered 
a certain patient to wake up, and at the same moment con- 
centrated on the thought that he did not want her to awake. 
The subject seemed confused and said, "Why do you order me 
to awake, when you don't want me to awake?" 

Tischner^ quotes the example of Dr Dusart, who, from a 
distance often kilometres, forbade a girl whom he had previously 
treated himself, and who was now being magnetized by her 
father, to fall asleep. Half an hour later, however, it struck him 
that this prohibition, if it actually became effective, might do 
the girl harm. He therefore cancelled it. Early next day he 
received an express letter from the father who informed him 
that on the previous day he had only succeeded in putting his 
daughter to sleep with great difficulty. She had declared that 
she had resisted him by special instruction from Dr Dusart and 
that she had only gone to sleep after receiving his permission. 
Moser (p. 283 ff.) records a whole list of such experiments 
where sleep was induced from a distance ; the actual distance 
between the controlling individual and his subject is 

It is moreover possible not only to put a person to sleep by 
purely spiritual influence; movements and acts can also be 
suggested by this means. Thus the Frenchman Giberts gives a 
mental command to his somnambulist Leonie to go next day 
to the drawing-room and look at an album of photographs, 
despite the fact that at this hour she is usually in the kitchen. 
The command is meticulously carried out. Such orders tend to 
be carried out with a precision that increases with the degree to 
1 In Revue scientifique, 1866. 2 Ergebnisse, p. 66. 

Occult Phenomena 141 

which the persons concerned are attuned to one another, and 
also with the degree to which the waking consciousness is put 
out of action. 

Feelings and sensations can also be transmitted in this manner. 
A well-known trick is to give a person a glass of water and to 
suggest to them that it contains cod-liver oil. The person then 
rejects the drink with horror, but will quietly drink cod-liver 
oil when it is suggested to them that it is water. Such persons 
will also experience the taste of salt, cinnamon, sugar or ginger 
when ordered to do so, and can be made drunk with well water 
when the suggestion is made that it is alcohol. Pains can also be 
transmitted, so much so that dressings have to be put on burns ; 
next day there is still "a pronounced swelling and redness" on 
a supposedly burnt arm.i It is said that drawings can be trans- 
mitted with marked success, though here clairvoyance appears 
to be at work, for the drawing is not only a subject of thought, 
but is actually reproduced, even though the transmitting person 
only sees it for a moment. This is apparent from the gradual, 
piece by piece production of the drawings, as though the 
experimental subject could not see properly, and also from the 
confusion between right and left and between top and bottom. 

That we are here chiefly concerned with the subconscious is 
apparent from the nature of the experience gained ; the experi- 
ments are most successful when there is neither intensive 
attention nor complete distraction, for both these are functions 
of the waking consciousness. Intensive efforts of the will are also 
a disturbing factor, and can produce a lag in the effectiveness of 
the stimuli. The hypnosis must neither be too deep nor too 
slight ; wholly deranged persons fail completely to yield results, 
but good results can be obtained from invalids with slightly 
manic tendencies. 

An interesting subject is the transmission of dreams, both 
those that are deliberately induced and those of a spontaneous 
nature. Certain people wish to appear to others in the night, 
and actually do appear to them; that is to say, those others 
have a hallucination based on telepathy. There is, for instance, 
the case of a man who shares in all the dreams of his wife; even 
three persons can share a dream.^ Flammarion records a whole 
1 Moser, p. 302. 2 Qf. Moser, pp. 340 fF. 

142 Occult Phenomena 

number of dreams l which nearly all seem attributable to tele- 
pathy or clairvoyance, since in such cases the soul acts like that 
of a somnambulist or of a hypnotized person, and thus shows 
that it is equipped with faculties of which science knows 

One of the most enigmatic phenomena is that which is 
known to parapsychology as rapport; it consists in an excep- 
tional relationship or connection between the hypnotist and his 
subject, so that the latter thinks, feels and acts as the hypnotist 
desires. A distinction is often made between magnetic and 
hypnotic rapport, the latter being looked upon as much the 
weaker, indeed as a mere shadow of the former. The difference, 
however, is only one of degree, the magnetic rapport being the 
stronger because under the passes a greater part of the nervous 
system, which still remains wakeful under hypnosis, is sent to 
sleep, and the sleep of the whole subject thus becomes more 
profound than is the case when the hypnotist merely acts on the 
mind — though here too there are marked differences between 
one individual and another. 

The reader will remember what was said above about a pure 
spirit's power of being influenced by suggestion on the part of 
another. Fr Gredt was so much impressed by the strength of this 
suggestive power that he rejected it a priori on the grounds that 
a spirit that was subject to it would no longer be free. Actually 
it is on the basis of this suggestibility that I have attempted to 
explain more closely one of the great mysteries of the Catholic 
faith. Now in hypnosis one of the persons concerned is in a state 
where the senses have withdrawn their functions, and is there- 
fore more receptive to the influence of another intelligence, thus 
establishing a contact with that intelligence such as is not 
established with others. Thus in the case of this phenomenon 
also our hypothesis brings us closer to an explanation. 

We have, however, also to reckon with yet another phenomenon 
of a purely physical nature, that of so-called animal magnetism. 
Certain students have suffered some confusion in this matter 
and have shown a tendency to reject certain truths about the 
soul which had already been established in favour of this 

^ Riddles of the Life of the Soul, Flammarion (pp. 274-328 of German 
translation, Stuttgart, 1908). 

Occult Phenomena 143 

theory of magnetism. We stand, they think, quite at a "turning- 
point".! Certainly there are phenomena such as luminosity, 
wind, the billowing of curtains which may be due to some kind 
of magnetic radiation and pathological emanations from the 
skin ; it is just in the case of these physical phenomena that one 
has to be particularly careful. Even so, these influences cannot 
explain the raising of heavy tables and purely spiritual pheno- 
mena. Such physical powers, even if they are of a nuclear kind 
(positrons and electrons), still belong to the world of matter 
and cannot explain processes that are wholly within the soul. 

J. Wtist and W. Wimmer have caused an even greater stir 
in the world of science by the discovery of magnetoid polarities 
in water diviners,^ which can be transmitted like electric 
currents, and diverted and screened, and which are connected 
both with the magnetism of the earth and with animal magnet- 
ism. People even think that the magnetism of the earth is the 
ultimate source of life because the air that is breathed out is 
north-polar magnetoid, after the south-polar magnetism has 
been consumed in the lungs. The Indian breathing exercises are 
connected with this fact, exercises that have the power of 
endowing the person concerned with mediumistic faculties. The 
fact that in certain cases objects have to be touched if medium- 
istic powers are to be obtained (and indeed the phenomena of 
hylomancy as a whole) are believed by some to be explicable 
along these lines. 

Yet these avenues of research have really yielded nothing 
new, valuable as their exploration has undoubtedly proved; 
for it was already known that magnetoid cosmic radiation could 
be perceived by sensitive nerves, and could to some extent be 
used to neutralize nervous energy, which in its turn tends to 
result in the powers of the spirit-soul becoming effective — as in 
hylomancy (psychometry) . So far, at any rate, we know of no 
physical or physiological power which could be capable of 
transmitting telepsychic perceptions. This applies, amongst 
other things, to the cosmic and vital waves of which Lakhovsky 

1 E.g. Moser, Okkultismus, pp. 851 ff. 

2"trber neuartige Schwingungen der Wellenlange 1-70 cm. in der 
Umgebung anorganischer und organischer Substanzen sowie biologischer 
Objekte", 1934, in Roux, Archiv fur Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen, 
131, 389- 

1 44 Occult Phenomena 

speaks and the existence of which he is at such pains to prove. 1 
Yet from all that has so far become known, the limits within 
which animal magnetism can be said to operate are very 
restricted. Many scientists have busied themselves with this 
subject and seem to think that they have discovered a new 
universal law, and with it answered all the riddles of the occult 
("the spiritualist sphinx"), if they succeed in detecting some 
minute variation in the readings of their instruments. Thus in 
1903 Blondlot discovered the so-called N-rays which were 
subsequently also observed by Bequerel and Charpentier.2 
Reichenbach^ called them Od; Rochas^ saw blue and red 
radiations from magnets, crystals, flowers, etc., which could at 
times become dangerous. Professor Haschek^ established that 
the luminosity of the human body was due to the gradual 
oxidization of matter excreted from the skin, which was 
especially noticeable in the cases of certain nervous persons 
where emanations from the body were very marked. 

A great stir was created when in 1923 E. K. Miiller succeeded 
in electrically tracing an emanation from the body which came 
especially from the finger-tips, the toes, the armpits and the 
breath. There have been similar experiments, dating back as 
much as half a century, which showed that the hand left traces 
like that of breath on a mirror, and that these could be 
intensified by concentration of the will. In one such experiment, 
an emanation in the form of a "pale shortened finger" passed 
over the surface of a small bottle and left "particles of tele- 
plasma" ("Teleplasmabrocken") behind. The experiment 
could not, however, be repeated, because the medium became 

The Frankfurt neurologist Dr G. Oppenheimer can move 
matches without touching them, and cause electric lamps to 
glow. This may perhaps become possible through frictional 
electricity generated between the clothes and the skin. It is 

1 Das Geheimnis des Lebens, Munich, 1932. 

2 Cf. Moser, Okkultismus, p. 860. 

3 Odisch-magnetische Briefe, Stuttgart, 1852. 

^ Die Ausscheidung des Empfindungsvermogens, Leipzig, 1909. 

5 tJber Leuchterscheinungen des Menschlichen Korpers, Holder, Vienna, 19 14. 

6 E. K. Miiller, Objektiver elektrischer Nachweis der Existenz einer Emanation 
des lebenden menschlichen Korpers und ihre sichtbaren Wirkungen, Bale, 1932. 

Occult Phenomena 145 

stated that anybody can do this, if he carries out the experi- 
ments after having made some kind of effort, although thorough 
insulation must be provided lest the electricity escape into the 
ground. All this seems to fit in with Miiller's emanation and 
Blondlot's N-rays. 

These various chemical and physical discoveries may help to 
provide an explanation for such phenomena as luminosity and 
other minor physical experiments, and they may help to put 
the life of the human senses more completely out of action, and 
thus make the soul's freedom from the body more complete, 
but they have no direct influence on telepathic manifestations, 
nor on those of clairvoyance. 

It seems possible to include under the manifestations of 
telepathy the so-called "cross-correspondence" — Querentsprech- 
ungen (Mattiesen) ; wechselseitige Entsprechungen, or verteilte 
Botschaften (Baerwald). That is to say, it is possible to regard 
them as the phenomena of genuine telepathy, which means 
that we need not interpret them according to Baerwald's 
theory as caused by "radiations". It is said that the actual facts 
of the phenomenon were discovered by the secretaries of the 
Society for Psychical Research, which is a clearing house for 
the declarations of mediums in all parts of the world. In the 
most widely separated places, it sometimes happens that 
mediums make fragmentary utterances which, when each is 
taken in isolation, are in themselves meaningless but make sense 
when combined. It is assumed that this would be impossible 
without the directing intelligence of a dead person and that the 
proof of the spiritualist thesis is thus complete. 1 

Yet if we examine it more closely, the case is really much more 
simple. The first thing to note is that nothing really rational is 
said at all. Thus somewhere in India a medium mentioned 
yellow ivory, while in Cambridge other mediums used the word 

The foreseeing of certain things in dreams is well within the 
bounds of the possible. It is, for instance, sometimes foreseen 
that houses and landed properties will one day have a different 
price from that which is set on them at the moment, and in 

1 Cf. Alfred Winterstein, Telepathie und Hellsehen, Wiener Phonix-Verlag, 
1948, pp. 144 ff. 

146 Occult Phenomena 

certain cases no other explanation is possible than that the 
thoughts and intentions of the owners become known tele- 
pathically. Even crimes are sometimes prophetically foreseen in 
advance. The murder of the actor Terriss of the Adelphi 
Theatre in London is an example of this, as is also that of the 
Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo to which we have 
already referred. There is here, however, no genuine pre- 
cognition in the strict sense of the term. What happens is that 
the thoughts of the murderers, who are naturally intensely 
preoccupied with their sinister intentions, become known to 
other persons whose subconscious is particularly wakeful. In 
such cases the soul is very far from leaving the body, nor does 
it "go upon a journey", nor is there any question of an 
"ethereal body" or a "perispirit". All we are concerned with 
here is the partly body-free soul which has knowledge by purely 
spiritual means. 

Let us, however, here note the fact that the cases of which 
we hear so often, where a person is made aware of the death of 
another, are not to be accounted as telepathy, but as clair- 
voyance. We may say the same thing of the utterances of 
fortune-tellers and of persons who predict the future from cards. 
Such people have much experience in putting themselves into 
a trance. 

The famous phenomenon known as "speaking with tongues" 
should be viewed in a similar light. Carlyle tells us of a Whitsun 
conference of the Irvingites in Colorado, at which a woman 
suddenly began to speak. Nobody could understand what she 
said, but some Japanese who were sitting right at the back began 
to weep. When someone turned to them, they said, "Tell us 
again in our own tongue how he died for the Japanese." The 
woman had spoken in Japanese of the death of Christ. There are 
records of many cases whose authenticity need not be impugned 
but which give no grounds for assuming divine intervention, 
since many of the actual observations made in foreign languages 
are quite stupid. Telepathy is quite a possible explanation, 
since the persons concerned tend to fall into a trance during the 

It is just these cases of speaking with tongues, however, that 
show clearly that we are for the most part concerned with a 

Occult Phenomena 147 

transference of thought, and not with an actual knowledge of 
languages. Charles Lafontainei relates the following: 

In Tours I magnetized a woman who was a somnambulist. 
People spoke to her in Spanish, Latin, English, Portuguese, 
German and Greek; she answered all questions in French. 
When, however, someone put a question to her in Hebrew 
she did not reply, I urged her to say why she did not answer, 
whereupon she said quite simply : "This gentleman is saying 
words which he does not understand himself; he does not 
know what they mean. That is why I can't answer. He does 
not think. I take no notice of words. I do not understand 
them. I can only answer the thought that I see." 

In passing we must note that in the miracle of Pentecost, and 
in the similar happenings connected with St Francis Xavier and 
St Anthony — in the last-named events the hearers each heard 
the saint's sermon in his own tongue — there was no question of 
the people being in a state of trance. Thus their understanding 
was in a much sharper state than in the cases related above. 
Even so those cases help us to see the Bible narratives, about 
which people are sometimes inclined to smile, in a somewhat 
different light, for they show us that here too grace builds on 

The feats of Indian jugglers have always aroused much 
attention ; these can only be explained in terms of telepathy 
and on the assumption that these men have the faculty of 
putting their audiences into some sort of trance ; a few persons 
who refuse to submit to this influence see nothing at all, and 
photographs similarly show us nothing. The persons, however, 
who have been put into a trance see everything that the 
conjuror thinks, or whatever he wants them to see. 

There is first of all the celebrated basket-stabbing trick. A 
child is placed in a basket which is closed and then pierced 
with a sword, so that blood flows through the apertures, and it 
is impossible to believe that the child is not dead. Yet suddenly 
the child jumps out alive and well. 

There are also Indians who walk through a fire without 
taking harm. In such cases the crowed has itself brought the 
1 Uart de magnetiser . . . , Brussels, 1851, p. 189. 

148 Occult Phenomena 

wood for the fire and actually experienced the intolerable heat 
of the flames. Moser describes such an event. " When all was 
ablaze," she writes, ''the priest walked slowly through the sea 
of fire before the eyes of the believing crowd and of the sceptical 
American who witnessed the scene, and came out unharmed at 
the other end. Overcome by the apparently undeniable fact, 
the American returned home with his photographs which would 
presumably record what he had seen; but what did he find 
when they were developed? The bonfire, the blazing flames, 
the crowd — but no priest." The priest only existed in the 
telepathically-induced hallucination of the crowd. 

Bishop Valoucek von Kremsier met an Indian in the house 
of a friend in Vienna who, as a favour, displayed his arts before 
about a dozen friends. The Indian put some powder into a bowl 
of coals, thus generating a powerful smoke. All those present 
were now told to think of some departed person, and that 
person would appear. All saw in the smoke the person of whom 
they had thought. It is obvious that the senses had become 
confused as a result of the smoke, and that the hallucination 
had thus been made possible. 

One often hears of the mango-tree trick. A Yogi brings a 
seed which he places in the ground and covers with a cloth. 
This last is then lifted up by the growing tree, from which 
everyone can then pick a leaf Unless the seed has in such a case 
been specially prepared, and enabled to achieve exceptionally 
rapid growth by means of a liquid placed in the sand — and it 
is hardly likely that such rapid growth could thus be achieved — 
then we are here again clearly concerned with telepathy. 

Even more astonishing is the rope trick, of which Marco Polo 
already gives an account and which keeps recurring in accounts 
of India since the fourteenth century. Amongst others, 
Munchausen seems to have heard of it. An Indian throws a 
rope into the air and lets a boy chmb up it. Then he orders him 
to come down. When the boy refuses to obey, the Indian 
climbs up the rope himself, hacks the boy to pieces and lets the 
bleeding parts of his body, the arms, the legs and finally the 
head, fall to the ground, so that a terrible panic occurs among 
the onlookers. In a moment, however, the boy leaps up, 
apparently none the worse for his treatment. There are various 

Occult Phenomena 1 49 

versions of this story. In some cases it is animals — lions, for 
instance — which do the cHmbing, and after having cUmbed the 
rope they vanish. Here too the Indian uses smoke, stares at 
those present and sings a monotonous song, thus creating the 
spiritual disposition that renders the onlookers amenable to be 
influenced by his thought. It is obvious that mass suggestion on 
such a scale as this is only possible to a master of the craft, 
though the tropical climate and the rich imagination of the 
Orient may help. Even so Dr Schonbrunn, together with the 
hypnotist Paulsen, reproduced all this publicly in Vienna in 
1 919 by means of waking suggestion.! 

The effect of such induced acts of the imagination is shown 
by a story in the Reader'' s Digest: About twenty persons are 
sleeping in the sleeping quarters of a ship. It is very close, and 
somebody asks to have the window opened that gives on to the 
upper deck. When this has been done, everybody is aware of 
the fresh air that flows in and sleeps wonderfully till the 
morning. It is afterwards discovered that the shaft on to which 
the window gave had another window at the end of it, and 
that this window was shut, so that no fresh air had flowed in 
at all through the opening of the the lower window. It was 
imagination that had brought the relief. It is in the same 
category that we should place the feats of the Brazilian medium 
Mirabelli. Mirabelli caused a skull to move of its own accord 
out of a cupboard; the skull floated about the room, then 
developed a body, "which gave out an almost unbearable 
odour of putrefaction", and afterwards dissolved into smoke; 
the skull finally fell on to the table. 2 

Here then we have the first group of artificially produced 
phenomena which can be explained by telepathy, that is to 
say, by the influence and suggestion exerted by one spirit upon 

(b) clairvoyance 

The second group of suprasensory phenomena consists of 
those of so-called clairvoyance, and the discussion of them may 

1 Cf. Moser, Okkultismus, pp. 392 fF. 

2 Siinner, Carlos Mirabelli, das neue brasilianische Medium, Mutze, Leipzig, 

150 Occult Phenomena 

be accounted as the second step on the road leading away from 
the world of sense into the realm of the occult. The names used 
in this connection vary. People speak of clairvoyance, of 
lucidite, of telaesthesia and cry-ptaesthesia. We use the word 
clairvoyance to denote the direct suprasensoiy''perceptioir'oi!I. 
things or conditions, of which at the time nobody has any 
knowledge. • It is the last characteristic which in particular' 
distinguishes second sight from telepathy, for in the latter the 
thoughts of one person are transmitted t(r"another7 In clai^ 
voyance it is not thoughtrbuf tilings that are apprehended, and 
they are things which nobody yet knows, and concerning which 
no one, therefore, can influence another. For instance we are 
concerned with clairvoyance when a person takes cards at 
random from a pack and the medium names the cards thus 

It is a faculty which normally a man does not possess, though j 
in so far as he is able to repress the senses and thus free the \ 
soul from the body, he will, after the manner of pure spirits, 
perceive all things towards which he directs his attention. ; 
According to our view, therefore, clairvoyance is something that 
follows directly from the very nature^f the spirit. Our ordinary 
science, with its materialistic orientation, which cannot 
recognize such powers of the soul, in this matter, is less 
fortunately placed than we are. It_wil l_still graciou slyrecognize 
the existence of telepathy, because it believes that it can assume 
some kind of waves analogous to radio waves, but with clair- 
voyance no such assumption is possible, since there is no person 
to "transmit". That is why clairvoyance is rejected, or treated 
as an illusion, or at best explained as telepathy (Baerwald, 
Dessoir) . ' ""~" -— .~--.-^.-. 

Actually, though a distinction has been drawn between the 
two phenomena, they are essentially the same. In both cases 
the intelligence at work is that of the spirit-soul which can be 
directed towards the thoughts of others or towards any other 
thing, whether or no that thing be possessed of life. In the case 
of such intelligence being directed toward the thoughts oT^ 
another, we speak of telepathy ; where it is directed towards ^ 
some other thing we speak of clairvoyance. Even in telepathy, 
however, we are not concerned with anything in the nature of 

' Occult Phenomena 151 

actual transmission on the part of the person whose thoughts 
are being read by another ; all that is necessary is that the latter 
should have the desire to communicate his thoughts ; that desire 
can, however, have varying degrees of intensity — that is to say, 
it can be anything between mere consent and a conscious and 
deliberate exerting of influence. The role of the recipient 
intelligence is simply to give its attention ; it must therefore be 
guided, and this too takes place with varying degrees of 
intensity. In telepathy it takes place through mental suggestion, 
in clairvoyance by direction of the hypnotist or through the 
influence of some directing object, as, for instance, in psycho- 
metry (hylomancy), or in cases of possession through the 
foreign intelligence concerned. 

When people like Dr Lakhovskyi and Bishop Waldmann^ 
point to the existence of an ability to perceive certain electric 
radiations by means of special faculties which have this 
capacity, they give an explanation that could only apply to 
short-distance influence. Where greater distances are concerned, 
people will really have to find some other explanation. The soul 
may indeed have the support of something of this kind, but as 
Driesch points out, it can at best be only a bridge to real 

Clairvoyance is of two kinds, clairvoyance in space and 
clairvoyance in time ; the former gives knowledge of things that 
are distant or hidden, while the latter is concerned with things 
that lie in the future or in the past. 

Let us deal first with the knowledge of things hidden, with 
so-called cryptoscopy, Over and above sheer illusion and fraud, 
there remains a considerable residuum of well-attested fact, 
which cannot be explained by hyperaesthesia, nor by "sense- 
transposition", nor by the touching of the forehead and similar 
practices. Dr Chowrin, in his book Experimentelle Untersuchungen 
auf dem Gebiete des Rdumlichen Hellsehens (Munich, 1919) (Experi- 
mental Research in Spatial Clairvoyance), recounts the 
following experiment with a thirty-two-year-old medium, a 
schoolteacher of noble birth. He wrote five different problems 
on five separate sheets of paper, put them into envelopes of 

1 Geheimnis des Lebens, Munich, 1932. 

2 Parapsychologie, Lexicon fiir Theol. und Kirche, VI I, 960 ff. 

152 Occult Phenomena 

identical kind, and sealed the envelopes. Then he took one such , 
envelope at random and destroyed the others, so that nobody- 
knew what the remaining envelope contained. The medium was 
able to say exactly what it contained (cf. Moser, Okkultismus, 
P- 416). 

Similar experiments were made by J. B. Rhine, 1 in which the 
subject was to perceive by extrasensory perception the devices 
on five cards. The devices were a square, a star, a triple-wave 
line, a circle and a cross. There were twenty-five cards in the 
pack, each sign appearing once in five different cards. The pack 
was played through four times; there were thus one hundred 
questions and answers, of which of course a percentage was 
likely to be correct. This ESP (extra-sensory perception) test, 
however, showed a higher percentage of correct answers than 
could be ascribed to chance. The fact that the success of the 
experiment was not greater than it actually was, is due to the 
circumstance that the subjects in question were not sufficiently 
in a state of trance. In much the same way colours are perceived, 
books are opened at random and, though what is on the page 
is quite unknown to anybody, it is correctly "read". Further, 
people see through objects which for us are not optically 
transparent; the subjects can indeed perceive everything to 
which their attention is directed; they see in the dark, see 
through walls, and can, among other things, declare the 
whereabouts of the body of a missing person. 

Many of the remarkable achievements of Swedenborg, which 
aroused so much attention in his day, fall into this category. 
Jung Stilling tells us of an Elberfeld merchant who came to 
Swedenborg and asked him if he knew what he, the merchant, 
had been discussing some time previously in Duisburg with a 
friend of his, a consumptive student of theology. Swedenborg 
told him to come back a few days later. When the merchant 
returned, he said to him with a smile : " I have met your friend. 
The subject of your talk was the ultimate return of all things" — 
and this was actually true. The attention Swedenborg attracted 
extended far beyond his home, and this not so much because 
of his religious revelations as on account of certain revelations of 
a purely secular character. One of these concerned the widow 
1 J. B. Rhine, The Reach of the Mind (cf. Introduction, n. 4). 

Occult Phenomena 153 

of the Dutch ambassador in Stockholm, a certain Countess 
Martefeld. This lady was handed a bill by a goldsmith named 
Cron for a service of silver that he had delivered. The Countess, 
who knew how prompt her husband had been in all money 
matters, was firmly convinced that the goldsmith's account had 
long ago been settled. Nevertheless she was unable to find the 
receipt. In her embarrassment, for the sum involved was con- 
siderable, she approached Swedenborg with the request that he 
should make enquiry among his spirits about the matter. Only 
a few days later Swedenborg informed her that he had consulted 
her husband's spirit, and that the latter had indicated a ward- 
robe in a room in the upper storey as the place where the 
receipt was to be found. The lady replied that this wardrobe 
had been completely cleared and that the receipt had not been 
discovered among any of the papers. Swedenborg rejoined that 
her husband had written to him that if a drawer was pulled 
out on the left-hand side, a board would be discovered, and if 
this were pushed aside, a secret drawer would be found in 
which his secret Dutch correspondence had been kept and that 
the receipt was in this drawer. Everything turned out as 
Swedenborg had said. The account had been settled seven 
months ago and the cheat was sent about his business. (The 
conjecture that Swedenborg had perhaps been lent some of the 
Count's secret correspondence and had seen the receipt, which 
had been used as a marker therein, is the kind of thing by 
which only sceptics could be satisfied.) 

In 1759 Swedenborg saw, while in Goteborg, the fire that 
was raging in Stockholm five hundred kilometres away. He 
made a report to the municipal authorities, naming the 
victims of the disaster, and stated the hour when the fire 
was put out. Some days later a royal messenger arrived who 
confirmed the accuracy of this vision (Rhine, The Reach of the 
Mind) . 

Here is another remarkable case which has been the subject 
of some controversy. In San Francisco a medium at a spiritualist 
seance wrote that in Melbourne, Australia, a strong, bearded 
man, wearing metal-rimmed glasses and aged sixty, had lost 
his life in a car crash. His name was stated to be Thomas L. 
Queen and he was said once to have lived in Los Angeles. He 

154 Occult Phenomena ^ 

was also said to wish to have his son John, who lived in San 
Francisco, notified of his death. Everything proved to be 
correct. They found the son, and it was established that the 
father had lost his life in a car accident on the very day that the 
medium had seen it all. In Fr Lacroix's opinion, there could 
not possibly be a purely natural explanation of this case. Fr 
Heredia believes the explanation to lie 

in telepathy, by virtue of which the spirit of one person can 
communicate with that of another, the two persons being like 
the sending and receiving stations in radiotelegraphy. In the 
case in question the spirit of the dying man thought of the son 
at home and the transmission is received by the medium who 
acts after the manner of an aerial. The thoughts of the dying 
man are naturally more intense, because of the very circum- 
stances in which he finds himself The transmission is thus 
more powerful, and is thus easier to receive. Admittedly 
telepathy in this hypothetical case cannot explain how the 
medium can perceive the features of the dying man, but some 
kind of clairvoyance on the part of the medium surely 
functioned together with the dying man's thoughts. i 

Thus far progressed Fr Heredia, and one must be grateful for 
this step forward, which at least excludes the devil. And yet one 
feels how uncertain everything still is, and how this explanation 
merely serves to increase our difficulties. Had there really been 
brain waves at the bottom of it, they would have had to be very 
strong indeed if they were to be received at a distance of eight 
thousand miles, for their effectiveness decreases with the square 
of the distance. We also have no real explanation of how the 
medium could tell what the old man looked like, that he was 
"strong, bearded and wore metal-rimmed glasses", since that 
appearance could not be "transmitted". To talk of clairvoyance 
in these circumstances does not help us at all, for as it is here 
conceived, it is only a word and explains nothing of this manner 
of seeing and its possibility. Bessmer^ too is of the opinion that 
the factor of distance invalidates this explanation. 

How simple is the explanation that our own theory provides 
for all this. The medium was in a profound sleep, and during 

1 Heredia, Der Spiritismus, p. i6o. 2 Stimmen der Z'^it, vol. 76, p. 281. 


Occult Phenomena 155 

such a sleep the soul, being partly body-free, can, after the 
manner of pure spirits, perceive anything to which for any 
reason it directs its attention ; distance is in such a matter quite 
irrelevant. The condition is the same as that described by the 
lady who said to Raupert^ "that for her there were no secrets 
in the world. There is a sphere in which all happenings are 
known, a sphere that might be compared to a book in which all 
the secrets of all men — yes, even the most secret of them — are 
inscribed, and in which a few persons with exceptional psychic 
development can read". This woman described his past life to 
Raupert in the greatest detail. "Whence did the medium 
receive this exact knowledge about the inner life of a man who 
was completely unknown to her?" Our own answer to that 
question is quite clear. 

The apparent knowledge of languages possessed by mediums 
often occasions considerable surprise, since the latter are often 
quite uneducated, but nevertheless dictate sentences in foreign 
tongues, sentences that can frequently be found after a long 
search in some book or other, which the subject has read by 

D. Felicios dos Santos 2 relates that when he requested a 
medium to recite a Latin couplet, he was given the following : 

Commovit Petrum Gallus, ploravit et ille; 
Nunc Petrus Galium corrigit, ille negat. 

This was a couplet that referred to the Encyclical of Leo 
XIII to the bishops of France, in which he advised the people to 
accept the Republic; the majority refused to obey, and the 
couplet relates to this resistance. 

The play on the word "Gallus", which can mean both cock 
and Frenchman, had, however, been known since the Council 
of Trent. It is said that at this council a French bishop criticized 
conditions in Rome. Another bishop then called out, '"Mmis ille 
Gallus cantat", whereupon with great presence of mind the 
Frenchman replied, " Utinam Petrus ad cantum galli resipiscat". 
The medium could, of course, have read this couplet in some 
book or have received it out of the subconscious of some other 

1 Spiritismus, p. 96. 2 Casos reais . . . , I937' 

1 56 Occult Phenomena M 

The same researcher obtained another verse, concerning his 
relations with his wife, ''Heus, viator, hie vir et uxor non litigant", 
which was taken from a gravestone, as the medium actually- 
admitted. There was also a third verse given which the re- 
searcher asked to be in English : "He was a sword whose blade 
has never been wet but in Liberty's foe" — a sentence sufficiently 
well known to those who have studied the literature of North 
America and the works of Washington. 

Rauperti tells how he himself heard a quite ignorant 
medium conversing with another person in fluent Hindustani ; 
that other person had lived long in India and therefore spoke 
the language idiomatically. In this case it is again possible that 
the medium read a few sentences from the mind of that other 
person, although it is always difficult for another person who 
does not actually know the language to tell whether a language 
is being spoken fluently or not. For such a person, any spoken 
sentence seems "fluent". 

Even when mediums write a foreign language in foreign 
characters, they do so like people copying a drawing, not like 
someone writing fluently, that is to say, they see the picture of 
the written word in their subconscious and copy it. We there- 
fore deplore the remark of Fr Heredia, who writes 2 : "In such 
cases the medium writes or speaks (or does both) automatically 
and, in doing so, displays a knowledge which in his normal 
state he does not possess. According to trustworthy accounts, this 
knowledge is of such an extraordinary character that it permits 
of no satisfactory explanation save that of the presence of an 
alien intelligence." The writer has come across the kind of 
accounts of which Fr Heredia speaks, and would be grateful 
to any reader who would bring to his notice any cases which 
his own theory seems incapable of explaining, for anything 
which these alleged third intelligences can do can also be done 
by the human soul itself in the various states of sleep. 

Often the whole thing degenerates into mere virtuosity in 
which the subjects write with reversed characters, or in such a 
manner that one letter has always to be omitted for the words 
to make any sense. Alternatively the sense must be derived by 
reading the letters that form vertical lines running across the 

^ Spiritismtis, p. 15. ^ Spiritismus, p. 109. 

Occult Phenomena 157 

Knes of writing. This last may have been suggested by wartime 
cypher methods, though such a cypher would have been easier 
to break than any actually used for military purposes. 

Somnambulists are often able to diagnose disease and its 
causes by a kind of clairvoyance ; they can discover the seat of 
a malady although the sufferers themselves may not experience 
any pain in that particular part, and can do so with the greatest 
exactitude. Over a century ago Haddock expressed the view 
that knowledge obtained by clairvoyance could be of value to 
a doctor. "I must own," he writes, "that I have derived 
information from this source which I should not have obtained 
from other methods of study ; and at the same time more con- 
fidence in certain remedial applications. Clairvoyance and 
mesmerism are not to supersede the physician and medical 
agents ; but the former is to be used by the physician as he uses 
a stethoscope — that is, as an instrument of investigation ; in 
fact a true lucid clairvoyant may be styled a living stethoscope ; 
and the latter is but one among many remedial agents." 1 It is 
true that they do not describe the nature of a malady in erudite 
technical terms, but do so in simple language like popular 
healers; they have an intuitive understanding and intuitive 
skills of healing which the physician often does not possess. 
Doctors Comar and Sollier report cases in which persons sub- 
jected to magnetic treatment became conscious of alien sub- 
stances within their own bodies, such, for instance, as a pin or 
a piece of bone, which could be removed by suitable peristaltic 
movement of the bowel. 

A somnambulist can also "feel" the physical condition of 
another, though the descriptions given on these occasions tend 
to be an inextricable mixture of truth and error ; the depth of 
the trance and the extent to which rapport has been established 
with the patient seems here to be the determining factor. In 
view of this it is, as Moser says, desirable to "keep to the 
rational considerations of science rather than to the incalculable 
uncertainties of so fallible an instrument". 

A certain fame attaches to the so-called criminal mediums 
whose powers of clairvoyance have often served to discover 
those guilty of crimes, to throw light on thefts and find missing 
1 Somnolence and Psychism, London, 1 85 1 . 

1 58 Occult Phenomena 

persons, though naturally enough these potentialities have been 
exploited, as is so often the case in these matters, for purposes 
of fraudulent gain. Nevertheless these "medium-detectives" 
have been increasingly used, so much so that serious considera- 
tion has been given to the idea of attaching them to the security 
services, where they would play something in the nature of the 
part of human police dogs. However, when for some time these 
mediums had been active in this particular field, certain 
suspicious circumstances in their conduct attracted attention, 
and a number of them were arrested and put on trial. Some 
notoriety attaches to the case of Christian Droste, who was tried 
in Bernburg. He was not himself a medium, but "worked" with 
about twenty such mediums, his method being to put some 
object connected with the crime in question into their hand. He 
would then hypnotize the medium and elucidate the facts by a 
series of questions which he put to the latter. Droste was 

In Insterburg a certain Else Giinther-Geffers was put on trial ; 
she was a medium herself and had the habit of putting herself 
into a trance by means of a crystal, and of making the relevant 
statements while in that trance. She too was acquitted both in 
the lower and the superior court, since she had successfully 
thrown light on several crimes, and had been consulted by the 
authorities in several difficult cases. A third case was rather 
more unsavoury; this was the case of a certain Hermann 
Steinschneider, who called himself Erik Jan Hanussen and was 
very active in this particular trade. The trial took place in 
Leitmeritz, but ended with an acquittal. Naturally enough the 
court did not in any of these cases pronounce any opinion as to 
v/hether the defendants possessed genuine occult powers or no, 
though experiments were in several cases actually conducted in 
the courtroom in what would appear to have been a somewhat 
amateurish fashion. The experts were divided in their opinions, 
but witnesses spoke up for the accused with great enthusiasm. 

All this raises a question of principle, namely whether there 
is really room for the employment of such mediums in a court 
of law at all. Certainly the same thing holds good here as in the 
matter of their employment in medical cases ; the greatest 
caution must be exercised, for there is always the danger that 

Occult Phenomena 159 

owing to the very great suggestibility which is present in a 
condition of trance, they will be telepathically influenced by the 
opinion that the crowd is bound to form. Even so, they can 
render valuable service, as was recently shown by the mediums 
M. Schmidt and R. Scherman, of whom the former disclosed 
the identity of the murderer Siefert, while the latter recon- 
structed with complete accuracy the murder of a girl by Franz 
and Rosalie Schneider, a murder which had taken place 
twenty-six years previously. It would seem therefore that with 
certain safeguards there is the possibility of useful employment 
for mediums both in the legal and the medical field. 

In many cases there is a doubt as to whether it is really a 
case of telepathy or clairvoyance, though in our view there is 
no essential difference between the two. In some instances, 
however, telepathy would hardly seem the appropriate category. 
To quote an example: "A certain Dr Ferrand sent to Paris 
from Antibes a Roman coin which he had found on a property 
of his ; the coin was shown to Alexis Didier, a medium who had 
attained considerable fame under the Second Empire. Didier 
stated that there was an urn on Dr Ferrand's ground which was 
full of such coins, and gave an exact description of the place 
where it was to be found. Digging was begun at the place 
indicated, and an urn was found containing some seven pounds 
of such coins."! This can only be classified as clairvoyance, since 
no living being possessed this knowledge. 

Such clairvoyance can also occur in dreams and can some- 
times throw light on problems of scientific research. The follow- 
ing story, the truth of which there is no reason to doubt, is told 
by Professor Hilprecht, the Assyriologist. While engaged on the 
study of Babylonian inscriptions he had experienced some 
difficulty in deciphering what had been engraved on some 
fragments of agate found in the Temple of Baal at Nippur. The 
results of his study were already in print, but he was not 
satisfied with them. Then in March 1893 he dreamed this 
dream : A priest, some forty years of age, thin, tall and dressed 
in a simple alb, led him to the treasury of the temple, a small 
room without windows in which there was a wooden chest. On 
the bottom of it were fragments of agate and lapis lazuli. The 
1 Winterstein, Telepathie und Hellsehen, p. 90, 

1 60 Occult Phenomena 

priest then said: "The two fragments of which you spoke on 
pages 22 and 26 belong together, but they are not finger rings. 
Their history is as follows. King Kurigalzu {c. 1300 e.g.) once 
sent an inscribed votive cylinder of agate to the Temple of Baal. 
Then we priests were ordered to make ear-rings of agate for the 
statue of the god Ninib. Since we had no material, we had to 
cut the cylinder into three. This produced three rings, each 
with a part of the inscription. The first two served as ear-rings. 
The fragments which are causing you so much trouble are 
fragments of these. If you will put them together, you will find 
that this is true." The priest then vanished. Hilprecht woke up 
and immediately told his wife of the dream, so that it should 
not be forgotten. In the morning he placed the two pieces 
together and found that what he had been told was absolutely 
correct. The problem was solved and the necessary corrections 
were made in the preface to his work. 

It is under this group that we should really include all cases 
concerned with the finding of lost objects — those of Helen 
Smith for instance, the seer of Prevorst, in the matter of Mayor 
Bournier and Fr Chessenazi as well as that of Anne Catherine 
Emmerich and the finding of Mary's grave at Ephesus. 

Such feats present no difficulty to the body-free soul when it 
is concerned with matters that are contemporary or lie in the 
past, since it need only direct its attention to the thoughts of 
some fellow creature or to the object itself The matter is, how- 
ever, very different when dealing with the precognition of 
future events and since the days of Pythagoras, Plato and Cicero 
the most varied accounts and explanations have been given of 
these phenomena. 

Reference was made some way back to an explanation by 
Myers, but this needs some amplification. Many authors write 
such happenings down to pure chance — Lehmann for instance l 
— but well-attested concrete cases are very numerous, and this 
interpretation cannot be considered satisfactory. Baerwald 
again takes refuge in telepathy and assumes so-called "tele- 
pathic talents" which unite all men in a universal telepathy 
and which act suggestively on certain persons ; the result is that 
those who are called upon to make a prophecy come true, do 
1 Aberglaube und ^auberei, p. 596. 

Occult Phenomena i6i 

this by virtue of the suggestive power of the prophet and of the 
thing prophesied. Thus cause and effect are made to change 
places — a very bold hypothesis indeed. Winterstein adduces a 
number of other theories, all of which profess to establish the 
fact of prophecy, i 

Tischner does not help us much when in his latest book, 
Ergebnisse Okkulter Forschung, he passes into a world which is no 
longer that of space as we know it. Tischner bases his view on 
Kant," who looks upon space and time as the inescapable forms 
under which we make our acts of knowledge. They are valid for 
the world of phenomena but not for the thing in itself" He also 
refers to Driesch, who speaks of the "extra-spatial field of the 
soul" which could also be spoken of as extra-temporal, for we 
are here concerned with things which do not yet exist, but are 
nevertheless supposedly objects of knowledge. 

Mesmer's pupil, the Marquis de Puysegur, assumed the 
existence of a sixth sense. Richet takes the view that "certain 
quahties of matter, both dead and living, thinking and 
unthinking ( !) to which our normal senses are closed, can never- 
theless be apprehended by certain persons at certain moments 
of time ".2 Moser3 despairs of finding an explanation at all, but 
comes fairly close to the truth when she says that the fulfilment 
of prophecy is a consequence of circumstances that can be 

And indeed, if we are to attain clarity, we must distinguish 
between a future that is already unequivocally determined by 
its causes and a future that is free. The former can be calculated 
after the manner in which an eclipse of the sun is foretold by an 
astronomer, while the latter depends on the free human will, 
whose decisions human knowledge can only ascertain in so far 
as a motive has already become apparent. For when we say 
that the will is free, we do not mean by this that it is completely 
uninfluenced by any motive ; we merely have the fact in mind 
that these motives do not absolutely constrain the will and 
determine it. Actually we know that in most cases motives do 
guide the will, although it can if necessary withstand them ; 
motives therefore to a very marked degree determine the issue 

1 Telepathic und Hellsehen, pp. 1 1 5 fF. 

2 Lehmann, Aberglaube und ^auberei, p. 599, 3 Okkultismus, p. 473. 

1 62 Occult Phenomena 

of action, indeed there can be such a combination of them- 
modern novelists are notoriously fond of creating this im- 
pression — that people may think any decision to be impossible 
other than the one actually made. 

In precognition therefore we are cxmcerned chiefly with a 
knowTMgeiof::ax:tuai physical circumstances and of motives 
acting on the will. What remains over for the free will is 
a,ccessible to no created intelligence, but in any case it is very 

Further it is plain that the extent to which actual causes of 
coming events are apprehended depends on the gifts of the 
persons concerned, on their experiences of life and on the 
breadth of vision with which they can co-ordinate their data. 
These of course vary with different people. Thus in May, 1942, 
at Casablanca the four statesmen were able to forecast the 
future course of the war and to demand the unconditional 
surrender of Germany, an act that seemed premature to the 
rest of the world and was designated by the head of the German 
state as an impertinence, but events proved the statesmen to 
have been right. 

There now only remains to be considered the special case 
where the spirit-soul's special powers of knowledge come into 
play, for the faculties of clairvoyance which the latter possesses 
give a far more accurate insight into the character and abilities, 
not only of individuals but of entire peoples (as also into the 
nature of political tensions and the inter-relationship of political 
events) than that enjoyed by men in their normal state. More- 
over the spirit-soul can read the motives, temptations, weaknesses 
and inclinations of such individuals much more accurately than 
the person in question can read them himself It is scarcely, 
therefore, to be wondered at if a person in a dream or a trance 
or under hypnosis should be able to foresee and foretell future 
events much more accurately than he would be capable of 
doing in his normal state. We are continually told that the upper 
consciousness is a positive hindrance to such cognition. All this 
makes many cases of prophecy, which till now have puzzled 
us and defied all explanation, much easier to understand, and 
if it is now objected that there still is a small group of cases 
where the will has been entirely free in determining events, our 

Occult Phenomena 163 

answer must be that either it was never prophesied correctly 
or it was so only by chance. We may therefore draw the general 
conclusion that prophecies of future events are only possible in 
so far as those events depend on their determining causes, but 
that in so far as they result from the action of a will that is 
entirely free, prophecy is impossible. 

Let us look at the matter more closely. People are very fond 
of citing the following well-attested case of alleged prophecy : A 
young Frenchman, a nervous type, was told by M. Lenormand 
on the 26th December, 1879 : "You will lose your father on this 
day a year from now. You will soon be a soldier" — the lad was 
nineteen — "but not for long. You will marry young, have two 
children and die when you are twenty-six." All this came true. 
His father died on the 26th of December, 1880; he became a 
soldier, was soon discharged and then married. Then came the 
fear that the last part of the prophecy would also be fulfilled 
and that he should die at the age of twenty-six. Liebault, who 
recounts this case, and who was consulted by the young man in 
question, endeavoured to hypnotize, but was unsuccessful, and 
so sent him to one of his somnambulists, who suggested to him 
under hypnosis that he would die forty-one years from that 
date — but he died at the age of twenty-six, as M. Lenormand 
had prophesied. 

The exact fulfilment of prophecy is in this case admittedly 
astonishing — all the more so since, in part at least, events appear 
to be wholly determined by a free will. Yet much of the story 
is by no means inexplicable. There is nothing very remarkable 
in the fact that a young man of nineteen should in this military 
state have become a soldier, nor is it particularly odd that his 
bad nerves should have resulted in his discharge, that shortly 
after this he should have married, and that in this country of 
the "progressive two-children system" he should have had two 
children. We are not told of the extent to which a spirit could 
have been aware of the first signs of death within the father, nor 
whether the latter gained knowledge of the prophecy either 
directly or telepathically, and literally worried himself to death 
over it. Actually the young man's own death may well have 
been hastened by this very cause, for the memory of the 
prophecy may have continued in his subconscious despite the 

164 Occult Phenomena 

contrary suggestion given under hypnosis, and may have had 
a deleterious effect on his physical health. 

In this case, therefore, of apparent foreknowledge we can 
admittedly observe the heightened faculties of cognition that 
exist in a state of trance, but we cannot speak of the matter as 
an instance of genuine prophecy, a thing impossible according 
to the theologians, even to the angelic intelligence. Other 
accounts of supposed prophecy must be similarly interpreted — 
in so far as they are true at all ; a good test here is whether the 
prophecy was actually recorded before the event. Where the 
record has been made afterwards there has usually been some 

Schopenhauer relates in his Versuche uber das Geistersehen 
(p. 282) that he had written a letter one morning and instead 
of sprinkling sand over it had picked up the ink-pot by mistake, 
the ink going not only over the letter but also on to the floor. 
A maid, whom he called to wipe up the mess, remarked that she 
had dreamed that night of cleaning up ink stains at that place. 
Schopenhauer made careful enquiries and found the girl's story 
was confirmed by the second maid, to whom the other had told 
her dream immediately on awakening. 

As in so many other cases, there is no need in this one to 
discern a genuine foreknowledge of the future. The fact is that 
many dreams are not fulfilled at all, while the dream of 
Schopenhauer's maid had to do with the ordinary processes of 
her occupation and no doubt she had been of service to her 
master in many similar situations. When one of the many 
dreams we have happens to be fulfilled, we forget all about the 
others which were not fulfilled and start talking about fore- 
knowledge. This is all wrong. The most we could say in the 
present instance is that the maid had by clairvoyance become 
aware of the tiredness of her learned master under the symbol 
of the confusion of the two containers (of ink and sand) and 
had then drawn conclusions from this. 

People are sometimes puzzled by things like the vision of 
Major von Gillhausen (which is well attested), at the outbreak 
of the first world war. Major von Gillhausen recorded his vision 
on 3rd August, 1 9 14, and sent the account to Prince Friederich 
Wilhelm of Prussia. The latter delayed reading it till the autumn 

Occult Phenomena 1 65 

of 19 15 and then returned it to its author. When Major von 
Gillhausen died on 2nd May, 191 8, the document, which had 
been sealed, was found by his brother. Like all German officers. 
Major von Gillhausen, so far as his waking consciousness was 
concerned, was a conscientious, level-headed sort of man, but 
there were times when he lapsed into a dreamy state. Such a 
state occurred on 3rd August, 19 14, and during it he had a vision, 
the general nature of which can be gathered from the following 
account : 

How will the war end ? Not within a short period of time, 
nor will it be carried on against only a single powerful enemy. 
I see many enemies and clearly recognize Belgium as one that 
will inflict terrible wounds upon us. In the West by the side 
of France, which I see trodden on, buffeted and violated by 
England, there appears that same England as our most 
formidable foe. In Africa we are compelled to engage in 
heavy fighting. Italy hastens to make common cause against 
us with England and Russia. In the Balkans there is Serbia 
and Roumania. I resist the idea of Roumania; I cannot 
understand it, but the conviction remains. Russia gives us a 
lot of trouble but we shall succeed there, despite the fact that 
Japan helps her, as America helps England. I see Roosevelt 
handing bread and wine to the King of England, patting him 
on the shoulder, giving him money, a powder-horn, a dagger 
and leaden bullets — and Roosevelt seemed to be our friend ! 

The war is terrible and will last many years. Always 
there are new enemies. I see them hurry to England, our 
opponent, from all countries of the world. Many places where 
we fight are far, far away and nearly all peoples of the world 
are drawn in — from North America to Australia, Serbia, 
Japan right up to Cape Horn. England appears everywhere. 
Is it possible? Germany's situation becomes terrible and 
things are worst in 19 18. It is not till 1920 that the war seems 
to be at an end or even to have reached the stage of an 
armistice. That is how things appear to go. Will the Kaiser 
survive 1 921 ? ... It seems to me as though England receives 
the death blow in India and Egypt. Germany emerges from 
the war in a fearful state. It will take her thirty years to 

1 66 Occult Phenomena a 

recover. Russia awakes and struggles with America for the 

possession of the future — God be with us ! 

I see the Kaiser, wearing his crown and an ermine mantle, 

sawing off the legs of his overturned throne. While he was 

thus engaged his ermine mantle became more and more grey 

and dusty and gradually fell away from him, while his crown 

grew smaller and smaller, and the Kaiser himself dissolved 

into nothing. . . . Germany's situation will be terrible. 

Here all was seen beforehand : it was written down, sent to 
the Crown Prince, who read it a year later and returned it to 
Gillhausen. After the latter's death it was found sealed. 

Another instance of apparent prophecy is the holy Cure 
Vianney's description in 1 862 of the first world war : 

Our enemies [he declared] will not completely withdraw 
[Battle of the Marne], they will return and destroy all that 
stands in their way. We shall not resist but shall allow them 
to advance and afterwards cut off their food supply and cause 
them heavy losses; they will withdraw towards their own 
country and we shall keep up with them, and none of them 
will return home. Then everything will be taken from them 
that they have taken from others and a great deal more 
besides . . . They will want to canonize me but will have no 
time for it. [This was said in 1862, and published in 1872.] 

These two supposed prophecies are worth a few moments' 
attention. In the case of Major von Gillhausen the main pre- 
diction, namely that Germany would be defeated, tells us 
nothing more than would have been said by the majority of 
trained military observers, by the kind of people, that is to say, 
who would not have been hypnotized by the mystique of an 
unconquerable German army. Such people would in all 
probability have estimated the chances of a German victory at 
70 to 30 "against", and no doubt this was the opinion, though 
they may not have uttered it aloud, of many officers of the 
German general staff. Once the probability of an ultimate 
German defeat has been accepted, the other conclusions, 
namely the long duration of the war and even the fall of the 
Hohenzollerns, etc., follow pretty naturally. 

As to the Hohenzollerns it is worth noting that the decisive 

Occult Phenomena 1 67 

factor in the jettisoning of the dynasty was the action of the 
General Staff under Hindenburg, and it is not too fanciful to 
suppose that a German officer might have been dimly aware 
of this potentiality in the mental make-up of the German officer 
corps. That Russia would one day "awaken" was a truism 
repeated by almost every schoolboy at the time, and it was not 
too difficult to foresee that a protracted war would bring about 
changes in the relationship between Britain and her subject 

The one really interesting thing in this so-called "vision" is 
the reference to Roosevelt, and one is at first tempted to infer 
that the major foresaw the advent of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 
the second world war, and lend-lease. This would indeed be a 
sensational conclusion. There is, however, no need to draw it, 
since a far more plausible explanation lies ready to hand. It 
seems on the whole likely that the Roosevelt referred to is not 
Franklin but Theodore, who, during his presidency, which 
terminated in 1 908, had been largely responsible for the calling 
of the Algeciras conference after the Morocco crisis of 1905. 

Roosevelt was thus the American President who had dealings 
with Germany during a particularly aggressive phase of her 
diplomacy. Is it unreasonable to suppose that a secret fear was 
at this time born in the major's mind, as it was doubtless born 
in the minds of many other Germans, that their country was 
making more enemies than the amenities of diplomatic inter- 
course might lead her to believe, and that Roosevelt, in the case 
of Major von Gillhausen, became the symbol of that fear ? There 
must after all be some explanation for the name of Roosevelt 
occurring at all, since he was not President at the outbreak of 
the war, and this seems as good a one as any. 

If this explanation is accepted, it furnishes an illuminating 
illustration of the kind of mental process in which the "vision" 
originated. The vision is in fact nothing more than a series of 
deductions from the facts of an existing situation, nor is there 
the least ground for assuming the intervention of a higher 

The so-called prophecy of the Cure d' Ars is of a very similar 
character. The most significant thing about it is the date when 
it was first made: 1862. This was the year in which Bismarck 

1 68 Occult Phenomena 

became Prime Minister of Prussia and forced the army bill 
through the Diet for the King of Prussia under what was really 
an implicit threat of force. It was a highly significant moment 
in the history of Europe, and one the importance of which would 
not be lost on a Frenchman with a strongly developed intuition. 
Nor is it surprising that the Cure should have foreseen the 
weapon of blockade. This was an even more obvious method 
of warfare in 1862, when Prussia had virtually no navy, than 
it was in 19 14. 

What, however, really excludes the possibility of this being a 
case of genuine prophecy is the fact that it is wrong on a most 
important point. It declares that none of the Germans would 
return home, whereas in point of actual fact they did go home, 
marching back, according to a plan that had long been prepared 
by the General Staff, under their own officers, and carrying 
their weapons. Detachments even made a triumphal entry into 
Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate, which was decorated 
with the inscription "Unconquered in the Field". The psycho- 
logical consequences of this were enormous and affected the 
whole subsequent history of Europe. To have been wrong on 
this particular point renders the whole utterance worthless as 
prophecy — all of which merely shows that even great sanctity 
does not confer the gift of foreknowledge. The point on which 
the Cure's prophecy is accurate, namely the delay, due to the 
war, in his own canonization, may safely be regarded as 
nothing more than a lucky shot. 

The question of the possibility of foreseeing the future played 
an important part in the First International Congress on Para- 
psychology in Utrecht, 1953, where Professor Tenhaeff 
(Utrecht) and Professor Bender (Freiburg, Germany) undertook 
with the medium Croiset experiments which became known as 
"The Chair Experiments". At meetings held over a period of 
five days, where those present were free to choose their places, 
the medium foretold who would sit in a certain specified chair. 
Many attempts were made, with a startling number of correct 
predictions. The predictions were taken on a tape recorder, as 
also their actual fulfilment, representing "an anticipation of 
the future which is an invasion of our thoughts and the moral 
postulate of free will" (Hartlaub). 

Occult Phenomena 169 

We suggest that it is quite unnecessary to take refuge here in 
non-Euclidean mathematics, in the fourth dimension, or in 
"spirits" in order to explain this foreseeing of the future. The 
solution is to be found in the explanation given on page 161, 
namely that it is a question of calculating the effect of certain 
known causes, and this is easier for the soul in a state of trance 
than for the normal consciousness. This can be gathered from 
the wrong conclusions and the near guesses that constantly 
occur (the prediction fits the person who sits next to the place 
decided upon, who may also be a relative) ; moreover only a 
narrow circle is involved. Croiset has specialized in this chair 
experiment, for which only a small circle of voluntary and 
"chance" subjects is in question, not the combined working 
of the free will of large numbers of people in the most diverse 
circumstances, with its effects on the lives of men over a period 
of years. 

Considerable fame attached at one time to the prophecies of 
Madame de Thebes (her actual name was Anne Victorine 
Savary, d. 19 15), who edited an almanac every year (Jouen, 
Paris) in which she published her prophecies. Schrenck- 
Notzing 1 has given us a compilation of these prophecies which 
plainly shows how much error they contained, so that certain 
words regarding Austria ("//(? who has been designated to reign will 
not reign, the throne will go to a young man who was not intended to 
reign'''') appear like a chance oasis in the desert. One has a 
similar feeling when one reads the prophecies concerning the 
first world war in Bachtold-Staublis' Handworterbuch des deutschen 
Aberglauben's (IX, B, Berlin, 1927-41). Not a single one of these 
prophecies proved correct. Naturally there is some difference of 
opinion among those who seek to make the dark sayings of 
Nostradamus (Michel de Notredame, d. 1566) refer to actual 
historical events. He is alleged deliberately to have used false 
names and to have distorted words [noyon, for instance, 
for ro)'07z=" kinglet") so that it should be impossible to fore- 
tell the future from his verses, "since this was not fitting for 
piman".2 Perty ^ also enumerates a number of prophecies which, 

1 Gesammelte Aufsdtze zur Parapsychologie, 1929, pp. 47 ff. 

2 See above, pp. 1 15 ff. 

^ Die sichtbare und unsichtbare Welt, Winterscher Verlag, Leipzig, i88i, 
pp. 125 ff. 

1 70 Occult Phenomena 

scientifically speaking, are quite useless, in so far as they are" 
not recorded in writing before the event. Anyone who really 
believes in foreknowledge of the future can make a very simple 
test; let him get a medium to foretell the winning number in 
the next state lottery. His success will not only convince us of 
the reality of prophecy but will bring about the disappearance 
of this drawing-room gangsterism of lotteries that exploits man's j 
love of gain. 


Since we have already dealt with the power of pure spirits 
to influence the physical world, we shall not be astonished if we 
encounter occult phenomena in which this power is manifested 
by the human soul. Admittedly the occurrence of such mani- \ 
festations is very rare, for the element of illusion and fraud is s| 
here very considerable. Moreover there is rarely any useful 1' 
purpose behind them, except possibly in medicine. Nevertheless 4 
it seems to be clear that man can act on his surroundings in two )j 
ways, first indirectly by means of his muscles, and secondly, j 
immediately through his spirit-soul. When acting in this last t! 
way he can produce sounds (telacoustic phenomena), move- -j 
ments (telekinesis) and materializations (teleplastic pheno- • 

(i) Telacoustic phenomena [raps) 

One of the first occult phenomena in the case of the notorious | 
Fox family of Hydesville, U.S.A., was the occurrence in the 
year 1847 ^^ ^ number of raps, which gradually became the 
means of getting questions answered. Raps, of course, are not 
the only kind of sounds that are heard in this connection. Indeed 
we have records of all kinds of knocking and banging sounds. 
Some such sounds resemble the pecking of hens, others again 
are like heavy hammer blows. One hears of gratings and 
scratchings, of sounds like the rattle of a machine-gun, a sound 
like that of a brush, and of yet others, like the sawing and 
planing of wood. There are sounds like music and like the 
whistling of wind, very loud sounds like the dropping of a 
cannon ball or a bomb, sounds that make the whole house 
shake. These sounds are produced by the light touching of an 

i Occult Phenomena 171 

object, and sometimes by mere thought; the presence of a 

, medium increases their volume. Often, however, the sounds 

[ occur quite unprovoked in any way, and even against the will 

, of the person in question, at least as far as the waking conscious- 

1 ness of that person is concerned. They occur, in a word, in a 

fashion that is as arbitrary and incalculable as a dream. Often 

; there is a reciprocal action with the movements of the medium 

(sympathetic movement and mimicry) ; or again there occurs 

a connection between the sounds and the medium's muscular 

contractions and the stimuli acting on the medium's nerves, so 

that a kind of conversation is made possible and questions can 

i be answered. Moreover these sounds can only be controlled 

through the subconscious, as is clearly shown by the case of the 

medium Karin. This person lived in a villa, and in this villa 

: heavy footsteps were heard in the evening on the steps leading 

to the veranda. Doctors then hit on the idea of hypnotizing the 

medium and ordering her to make the footsteps cease. They 

I were only heard twice after that, and even then were very 

subdued. Then they were never heard again at all. 

A case very similar to that of Karin is related by Malfatti.l 
i Most telacoustic phenomena raise a twofold problem. There 
is first of all the question of the origin of the message or meaning 
they are intended to convey, and normally this reflects some 
piece of knowledge or some thought in the subconscious of some 
individual. There is also, however, the much more thorny 
problem of how that individual, or the medium who reads his 
mind, causes the telacoustic phenomena to take place, 
j A case is related by Grabinski^ in which the law played a 
certain part; indeed the law did this while the actual "spook" 
phenomena were taking place. The whole matter took place, so 
to speak, under police control. The following is a summary : 

Old Frau Minna Sauerbrey was lying gravely ill with an 
incurable abdominal disease. Her twenty-one-year-old step- 
son Otto had had a certain amount to do with hypnotism and 
spiritualism. He now hypnotized the old lady, and then went 
away without releasing her from the hypnotic state. This was 
on the 13th February, 1921. The patient's condition grew 

1 Menschenseele und Okkultismus, p. 1 79. 

2 Spuk und Geistererscheinungen oder was sonst?, 1922, pp. 266-275. 

1 72 Occult Phenomena 

worse; she became unclear in her speech and started 
addressing remarks to her stepson. In these she defended her- 
self against imaginary imputations — that she had stolen 
chickens from her neighbour, for instance. Shortly thereafter, 
on the 15th February, raps, becoming ever louder, began to 
be heard in the kitchen where the old woman was lying, and 
bowls, buckets, chairs and tables began to move about. This 
took place chiefly at night, but under the full glare of the 
electric light. Since the stepson had meanwhile been charged 
with criminal negligence on account of having failed to 
awaken his patient from her trance, police were now present 
during these manifestations — no fewer than twelve police 
officers being present, including a superintendent. Those poor 
wretches had then actually to put up with being made fools 
of by the "spirits" and in the end were compelled to certify- 
that the sick woman, who could not move from her bed, and 
who died on 27th March, could not possibly have caused Ij 
these things to happen with her hands or her feet. 

The police being helpless, the doctor was called. It was ;; 
assumed that the twilight state induced by hypnosis was at i 
the bottom of the whole thing, and for this reason the nerve ;• 
specialist, Dr Kahle, of Weimar, endeavoured to apply 
counter-hypnosis. The belief in the exceptional power and ^ 
strength of will supposedly possessed by the stepson was thus ; 
destroyed and the patient ultimately returned to reality, 
uttering the words "Now I am released." From that moment 
all the "spooking" stopped and was not repeated. 
Here we see clearly how such spook manifestations are 
brought about experimentally at a spiritualist seance. The 
medium — in this case a dying woman — is put into a hypnotic 
twilight state and the telekinetic phenomena begin ; when the 
medium awakes, they vanish. 

People often ask who or what it is that directs these raps. 
Most certainly the answer is that it is those present at a seance 
together with the medium — even though they may not know it 
and actually think the opposite with the waking part of their 
consciousness. Sometimes a medium is not required at all for 
these manifestations to occur, as is shown us by Fr Castelein, S, J.,i 
1 UHypnotisme, p. 251. 

Occult Phenomena 1 73 

whose experiments have demonstrated just how people who 
take part at a seance are influenced. 

At the time when the spirituaHst question was greatly- 
exercising people's minds, members of the University of 
Louvain asked him to lecture on the subject, and he relates the 
following : 

In order to be able to come forward with well-attested 
facts, I chose four talented students who were of a sufficiently 
nervous disposition to suit the purpose I had in mind, one, 
a medical student, being particularly marked by these 
characteristics. I asked them whether they were prepared to 
take part in a scientific and religious experiment, and added, 
in order to quiet their conscience, that we would break off 
immediately, if there were any indication of diabolical inter- 
vention. In order to prepare them, however, for the auto- 
suggestion which I intended to induce, I added that if the 
soul of an unbaptized child should appear, we would 
continue to speak with it, since such intercourse in itself 
involved nothing that was contrary to faith or reason. This, 
too, I said so that this my intention to induce autosuggestion 
should be more easily realized. 

My four students then closed the chain by lightly touching 
the table. Would it move ? "Listen, friends, spirits, particularly 
spirits of the kind we want to summon; do not come so 
quickly." I tried to make them patient, and got them to wait 
about ten minutes, which was sufficient to tire their fingers 
and to get them into a condition in which nervous disturb- 
ances would be transmitted. I myself stood about three yards 
away from the table and supervised the experiment. At a 
given moment I called out "Stop, the base of the table is 
moving", and suddenly the table did start to move and to 
turn with slight tremors. I gave a description of the movement 
and asked all to direct their wills that it should continue. 
Great consternation and joy ! I had been able to influence 
the subconscious of my assistants in the manner I desired. 
"And now," I said, "we will ask the table to answer 'yes' 
and 'no'. One knock will mean yes, and two, no. "Spirit, 
are you there?" A sufficiently loud rap opposite the very 

1 74 Occult Phenomena 

nervous boy was heard. "So it's here! Let us first put tl 
decisive preliminary question. Are you a devil or one of th| 
damned?" One rap. Fortunately at this point the table again 
began to move and we heard two raps. We could now 
proceed in safety. 

Second question: "Are you baptized?" "No." "How old 
are you?" Three firm raps, then another — weak, and yet 
another, still weaker ; another after that, scarcely audible at 
all; my "spirits" were apparently agreed on this much— that 
this was an unbaptized child which had died before attaining 
the use of reason. They differed, however, in their estimate of 
its age. The most nervous of these "spirits" no doubt thought 
that the child had been three, the other believed it to have 
been a year or two older. I noted that I myself had the age 
of three firmly fixed in my mind and was no doubt able to 
communicate this suggestion to my young friends. 

There then followed a series of about fifty questions which 
I had answered by "yes" and "no" in such a manner that 
they confirmed the full teaching of the Catholic Church con- 
cerning the state of children who died unbaptized. Thanks to 
autosuggestion, we were told that such children enjoy a 
natural happiness, but cannot be raised up to enjoy the 
supernatural vision to which indeed they have no right by 

My four students went away utterly astonished, and quite 
sure that they had been instructed by a spirit from the next 
world. In reahty, it was I myself who had ensured the 
orthodoxy of the "spirit's" answers. 

How great was the surprise of my four students when in 
my lecture on the following day I explained the phenomena 
of the talking table by the psychological theory of auto- 
suggestion and unconscious nervous movements. 

We need not here concern ourselves with the actual manner 
in which the raps were produced — whether, that is to say, they 
were caused by the unconscious muscular action of the students, 
as the author seems to think, or by the souls of the students (or 
of some of them) acting after the manner of pure spirits. The 
importance of the story resides in the fact that it identifies the 

Occult Phenomena 1 75 

directing intelligence, in this particular case, that of the priest 
himself. In other cases it is the medium's intelligence which 
produces the messages by influencing those present at the 
seance. The medium does this in a state of trance, in which it 
remembers the knowledge stored in its own subconscious and, 
Uke pure spirits, can read what is taking place in that of others. 
All this explains why the messages can never go beyond the 
medium's own intellectual horizon and that of the others 
present — which has led one commentator to remark that: "If 
these messages really come from the other world, then that 
world is not worth much." 1 

For the most part mediums and the others present at seances 
do not know the teaching of the Church and are even hostile to 
it. This is apparent when they jeer at the "heavenly porter", 
or say that Cardinal Vaughan had taught error during his life- 
time, ^ or utter other follies of the kind recorded by Fr Lacroix 
in no fewer than fifty pages, and also by Bishop Schneider. 3 The 
deliria of dreamers are really not worth refuting. 

There are people who think that this table-turning, which 
is in such ill odour, may become "the means of solving the most 
profound problems of human nature, and of abolishing all 
superstition. At the same time, much that is derided today as 
superstition may be recognized as belonging to the natural 
processes of a magnetically creative or psychodynamic activity 
on the part of the human spirit. This may help to pro- 
vide an answer to the deepest questions of psychology and 
philosophy." 4 

It is said that cases are not unknown where actual human 
voices have been heard at seances, though here we are on very 
uncertain ground, for in the darkness observation is rarely exact. 
The case of a certain Margery, the wife of a Boston surgeon, 
Dr Graham, has been much disputed. This lady causes the 
voice of her brother "Walter" to be heard. George Valiantine 
brought about similar manifestations, using a trumpet for the 
purpose, while Bradley has made hundreds of recordings on 
which voices speak in English, Italian, Hindustani and Chinese, 

1 Dr Lucio dos Santos, Diario, Bello Horizonte, 1923. 

2 Raupert-Lucio dos Santos, Espiritismo, p. 82. 

3 Pp. 227-271. ^ H. Schindler, Das magische Geistesleben, Breslau, 1857. 

1 76 Occult Phenomena 

although the medium concerned had no knowledge of any of 
these languages. 

But a medium who is able completely to enter into the 
personality of a dead person subconsciously may really develop 
the ability to portray the man's whole character and to imitate 
his bearing and even his voice. A case is reported of a young 
man who had considerable skill in imitating other people's 
signatures. It was his practice to try ^d put himself cojnpletely 
into the position of the person concerned, and to try a*Qd adopt 
his voice and gestures. It was only then that he signed that 
person's name, achieving on these occasions an astonishing 
resemblance to the authentic signature. When one personality 
moves in complete harmony with another, down to the sub- 
conscious itself, it is not really surprising that a good imitation 
of voice and bearing should become possible, though when this 
occurs at a spiritualist seance, the medium gets knowledge of 
the character concerned by drawing it out of the consciousness 
or the subconscious of those taking part or putting the questions. 

(ii) Telekinesis 

There is much more reliable evidence for the phenomena of 
telekinesis, the movement of objects without the appUcation of 
physical power, movements to which no recognizable cause can 
be assigned. Thus in broad daylight at a seance with Frau 
Silbert in Graz a table weighing sixty pounds was moved up 
and down and tipped up. Frau Moseri describes the levitation 
of a table at which she was present. The table was moved up 
and down and tipped up at an angle. 

There was a soft but clearly audible cracking sound, then 
suddenly it rose up with such power and speed that we all 
jumped up with fright and pushed back our chairs, my own 
being knocked right over. As though raised up by an 
enormous fist, or by a beam which had suddenly sprung out 
of the earth, the table shot about three feet into the air, 
remained suspended there for a short time and then sank 
slowly back. . . . Suddenly it rose a second time, and to such 
a height that Herr Fischer, the medium's husband, cried out, 
"Stop it, or it will break the lamp." We started to press down 
1 Okkultismus, pp. 40 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 177 

with all the strength at our command ; the table continued to 
float with its top at eye level, so that the hands that formed 
the chain had actually to be raised up above the shoulders. I 
pressed as hard as I could, and so apparently did the others. 
It was all in vain. The table did not rise any higher, but it did 
not move downwards either; it remained suspended under 
the hanging lamp as though it were held by iron chains. It 
remained thus for a long time, the pressure we put on it 
having no more effect than a fly. Then suddenly it crashed 
down with a tilt in my direction, so that the medium and I 
were forced to move back. It landed with such force that 
one of the feet broke off and flew with a crash against the 
door. The table now stood crooked ; its position was near the 
wall, and only partly on the carpet. 

We then had yet a third levitation, after which we picked 
up the chairs that had been knocked over and pushed the 
table back to its original position. At the medium's suggestion, 
we took our places around it yet once more, whereupon it 
rose into the air again. This time, however — and this was the 
extraordinary thing — it floated at a slant, so that the right 
end was about breast high, while the other end, which was 
towards the doctor, was about at eye level. Though I again 
pressed with all my might, I could not produce the slightest 
movement, or even the slightest vibration. It hung im- 
movable, as though on a solid base. My impression that 
something must be carrying it, or that there must be some 
kind of machinery at work, was so strong that an irresistible 
urge compelled me to say: "May I examine this thing?" 
"Certainly," answered Herr Fischer. I broke the chain — and 
this had no influence on the table at all — knelt down on the 
carpet and felt with both hands under the feet of the table, 
searching in all directions. Nothing — absolutely nothing was 
to be found. Then the table sank back on to the floor — this 
time very slowly and gently. 

Yet there are other phenomena than such moving tables. 
Bells, violins, water bottles, plants and skulls fly through the 
air. Mediums raise themselves by autolevitation, or become 
perceptibly lighter, as can be proved by the weighing scale, 
or fail to sink in water, much as witches used to fail to sink. 

178 Occult Phenomena 

One such medium "could not be brought into a bath at all, 
since she would bob up like a cork". The medium Home is 
stated to have flown out of one window and in at the other, 
afterwards expressing the hope that the police had not 
witnessed the incident, as they might have misinterpreted the 
significance of a figure moving along a house wall. 

It is said that mediums can move objects by mere thought, 
without touching them at all. In this way they can also cause 
weighing scales to sink and instruments to play. Once when the 
highly nervous and weakly Stanislava Tomczyk was consulting 
a doctor, the ink-pot suddenly began to dance about, causing 
considerable alarm to all that witnessed the incident. Eusapia 
Paladino, who had a wound in the head and was an epileptic, 
caused heavy objects such as a typewriter to be lifted up at a 
distance. We also hear of materializations — that is, the appear- 
ance of hands, feet, heads and of persons that walk about and 

Fr Gatterer, S.J., writes in his book as follows ^ : 

In the seances with Rudi Schneider and Maria Silbert, 
telekinetic movements took place before my eyes and quite 
close to me, for instance, the breaking of a violin next to 
Schrenck-Notzing. I was also able to witness in Braunau the 
materialization of a small hand, which seized a bell out of 
my own. It appeared with complete clarity in a number 
of diverse circumstances, and I can guarantee that it was not 
the hand of Rudi or of any other member of the seance. 

The conditions of supervision and observation I can only 
describe as perfect. In the seances with Maria Silbert, the 
clearest phenomena were the messages communicated by 
means of raps, and this was observed innumerable times by 
bright lamplight and even by daylight, and I myself could 
observe this phenomenon at every seance. The circumstances 
in which the manifestation took place excluded in my 
opinion any possibility of fraud. 

I do not hesitate to express my personal conviction on the 
subject of paraphysical phenomena . . . that in our day, as 

1 Wissenschaftlicher Okkultismus, (1927). 

Occult Phenomena 179 

in any other, we have witnessed genuine occult phenomena, 
both spontaneous and experimental. 

So writes the learned Jesuit, and indeed, though excessive 
credulity would be a mistake, it would be equally foolish to deny 
plain facts which have been observed by serious men of science, 
especially when the theory of the special gifts of the spirit makes 
such facts appear possible. Serious authors recount facts such 
as the following : 

The Mexican Jesuit de Heredia reproduced a levitation 
under strict control, of which a newspaper reporter gives this 
account: The body of P. d. H,, which was scarcely visible in 
the darkened cabinet, rose slowly upward, assumed a hori- 
zontal position, remained there for some time, and then sank 
down and resumed its natural position. The help of two 
doctors was required to bring H. round again. After this 
exhibition, the Jesuit asked those present to come on the 
stage and to search most carefully for any possible deception. 
Several persons accepted this invitation and reported that 
they could find nothing. This scientifically trained Jesuit 
looks upon levitation as a fact which will probably one day 
be explained in terms of magnetism. 1 

Of course, we deny that there is any need for dragging in 
magnetism; let us, however, proceed to yet other instances. 
JacoUiot^ relates the following of the Fakirs Salvaniden-Odear 
and Covin-Dasomij : "They rise into the air and float out of the 
open window." "The most striking instances of levitation 
occurred in the case of Mr Home," says Grookes. "I have 
myself seen him rise right off the floor on three separate 
occasions." "That the raising of tables has actually occurred 
seems well established," writes Bishop Schneider. ^ 

The multiplicity of such accounts causes Professor Malfatti 
to write"*: "There is no reason to suppose that the soul loses 
its ability to put out power and act on matter once it has left 
the body; after all, it remains even after death — such is its 

1 Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, p. 116. 

2 j^g spiritisme dans le monde, Paris, 1875. 

3 Der neuere Geisterglaube, p. 501. 

"^ Menschenseele und Okkultismus, p. 148. 

i8o Occult Phenomena 

nature — the vital spiritual force of man." We might add that it^ 
retains these powers when it is only in a state of semi-freedom 
from the body. 

Much controverted are the so-called "apports". We use this 
term for occurrences such as those when fresh flowers or birds 
fall from the ceiling, when knots are untied after both ends have 
been sealed, when wooden rings are fastened one into the other, 
when objects or even persons are made to vanish and then to 
reappear, when letters are written on slates after normal human 
agency has done no more than put a piece of chalk in readiness. 
One cannot say how large a part is played by hallucination in 
these cases. "Even so," writes Moser, "we cannot wholly reject 
these cases of apport, however great the temptation. My two 
experiences with Rudi Schneider must be classified under this 
head ; in one of these a handkerchief suddenly and inexplicably 
disappeared out of my clenched fist; on another a violin 
disappeared while I had my arms actually around it."i 

Zollner, the physicist, working together with a friend, made 
elaborate studies of these cases of interlocking rings, knots, and 
the writing on locked-up slates — to the great scandal of the 
scientific world, since these effects were reproduced later by 
professional conjurors. It is difficult to tell whether Zollner was 
right or his materialist critics. 

There was also the case of a seance with Eusapia Paladino, 
attended by certain men of science. On this occasion "heavy 
curtains were Hfted from the window and hurled on to the 
table, and the zither gave out the same note eleven times. Then 
it moved in leaps over the floor, and was finally hurled on to 
the table, where it remained with the strings downwards; in 
this position it continued to give out sounds under our eyes. . . . 
This time Myers and the whole company were absolutely con- 
vinced, and regarded the proof as complete." ^ Certainly many 
scientific minds have been so carried away that they already 
speak of the "unveiling of the spiritualist Sphinx ".3 Some hold 
that the medium accumulates electric charges, which under 
psychodynamic direction can produce astonishing releases of 

1 Moser, Okkultismus, pp. 8 1 1 ff. 

2 Flournoy, Des Indes d. la planete Mars, p. 126. 

3 Linzer Quartalschrift, 1937, p. 253. 

Occult Phenomena 1 8 1 

power. It was, it is said, the fact of being electrically charged 
that enabled thirteen-year-old Angelica Cottin of Bauvigny to 
cause furniture weighing three hundred pounds to be hurled 
about. Moser's comment seems to hit the nail on the head when 
she says^: "The human soul has the abihty to act on the 
external world in two ways, through the muscles and directly 
through the will ", although in the following chapter, that on 
animal magnetism, she feels impelled to treat the two things as 

(iii) Teleplastic phenomena 

The most disputed phenomena of all, however, are so-called 
materializations. We hear of limbs of the human body appearing 
and even of complete phantoms, of imprints of hands and faces 
on paraffin wax. Crookes made a particular examination of 
changes of weight in objects, and employed the most delicate 
apparatus for this purpose, and the most ingenious methods to 
ensure the complete absence of fraud. His conclusion is that 
these phenomena undoubtedly occur — as do also the playing 
of tunes by musical instruments. He ascribed these things, 
however, not to spirits but to the psychic powers of the mediums, 
which he refrained from defining further. As against this, 
Myers believed that they confirmed the spiritualist hypothesis. 
Mattiesen spoke of an "excursive ego" which radiated from 
the body and thus set up an additional theory. 

Tischner writes: "While Slade, a well-known medium, sat 
quietly on the left of Zollner with his hands resting on the table, 
there suddenly appeared from under the edge of the table a 
large hand which seized Zollner's left upper-arm. Zollner was 
able to watch it closely for three or four minutes in the brightly- 
lit room. Shortly afterwards his right hand was painfully 
pinched." 2 Zollner also put two slates together with a piece of 
chalk between and closed and sealed them. Suddenly something 
started to write between the two slates, and when they were 
opened up, the writing was there to see. 

Materializations proper, when they are not mere frauds, must 
be better examined than they have been hitherto, the best 
technical means being employed that our time affords — the 

^ Okkultismus, p. 850. 2 Tischner, Ergebnisse, p. 157. 

1 82 Occult Phenomena 

extraordinary nature of the claims demands nothing less — for 
such accounts as that of Flammarion l concerning the experi- 
ments of Sir William Crookes verge on the unbelievable. 
Crookes is said to have observed the phantom "Katy" walking 
up and down the room for two hours and witnessed her talking 
in a quite intimate way with all those present, while the medium 
Florence Cook lay in a trance behind a curtain. On several 
occasions, moreover, the phantom took Crookes's arm and all 
could see that this was a genuine Hving creature and not a 
shadow from the next world. To what extent fraud, or the 
hallucination of all those present, was at work here, it is as yet 
impossible to say. 

A great part of these "physical" manifestations are most 
certainly hallucinations — and genuine phenomena are few and 
far between, but we must certainly take them into account, 
nor are they in theory impossible, since a spirit can act upon 
matter. Whether people have really succeeded in photo- 
graphing such "spirits" is a moot point. Photographs are of 
course sometimes shown, but it is always an open question 
whether they are genuine. It is difficult to believe that real 
spirits show themselves to the experimenters clad in silken or 
cotton garments which are then duly dematerialized. 

All that is reported in the way of such manifestations can 
be arranged under one of the three categories named above, 
even if they make their appearance in various disguises. Some- 
times several of these different kinds of phenomena are com- 
bined — a circumstance that enhances the element of the 
wonderful and the inexplicable. We cannot therefore follow any 
more the same sequence, dealing first with the purely spiritual 
and then with the physical, but must now choose another 
arrangement and classify them according to the manner in 
which they appear to be guided by a conscious intelligence. 

The phenomena in which such guidance is least clearly in 
evidence, which show the maximum of confusion and are most 
marked by their dreamlike quality, are those connected with 
magic, theosophy and astrology; in radiaesthesia the intellect 
has already a conscious aim before it, and this is even more true 
of Coueism and Christian Science, for in these the object is 

i Unbekannte Naturkrdfte, p. 300. 

Occult Phenomena 183 

healing. In the case of crystal gazing, spiritualism and spook 
phenomena (at any rate the personal ones) the subject is 
exposed to the wildest suggestions. Hylomancy, or psycho- 
metry, where dreams are based on some directing object, forms 
the transition stage to those phenomena which are clearly 
dependent on another intelligence, namely hypnotism, posses- 
sion and mystical experience. In these the soul which is hidden 
in our body is influenced respectively by the hypnotist, the 
devil and (in the last case) by God. 



[There seem good grounds for looking upon magic (a) as an 
attempt by man to regain some of the preternatural powers that he 
had lost by the Fall. Its most typical forms are usually associated 
with some dulling of the sense mechanism, and in this state the 
magician becomes endowed with clairvoyance. Radiaesthesia or 
divining (b) is partly susceptible of a physical explanation, but there 
is strong evidence that the soul's powers of purely spiritual 
cognition are involved. Coueism and Christian Science (c) may 
aptly be considered here, since the powers of the unconscious mind 
are involved, and Coue actually makes use of incipient sleep to get 
results. Crystal-gazing (d) is explained as a form of mild self- 
hypnosis, while all the phenomena of spiritualism (e) can be satis- 
factorily interpreted in terms of the author's thesis. The medium at 
a seance is in a self-induced trance and in that state can gain 
knowledge of events in the past or at a distance and can also read 
the thoughts of other people, whether conscious or unconscious. 
The manner in which the medium's knowledge is translated into 
messages has already been indicated. Most ghosts and spook 
phenomena (f) come, in the author's view, into the same class of 
phenomena as the physical manifestations at seances and the 
apports of spiritualism, i.e. they come under the head of teleplastic 
and telekinetic phenomena. A genuine reappearance of the dead 
is of course not to be wholly ruled out in certain special 

Hylomantic phenomena (g), in which the handling of some object 
induces clairvoyance, are best interpreted under the assumption 
that the object acts as a kind of organizer of the chaotic life of the 
subconscious, by turning its attention in a particular direction. 
This last is also the main characteristic of hypnotism (h) and 
probably why it gets such good results, the organizer being in this 
case the hypnotist. 

From this organizing of the mental life of another by the hypnotist 
we pass logically to the phenomenon of possession (i) , in which an 
alien intelligence takes complete control of the personality of a 
human being and acts and speaks through it.] 

Occult Phenomena 185 

(a) magic 

MAGIC is one of the oldest ways by which men have 
sought — and still seek — to use the powers of the sub- 
conscious. The writer proposes to show that the manifestations 
of magic are all explicable in natural terms and are in the main 
of the same character as those normally associated with 
artificial sleep. This will enable us at a stroke to dispose of all 
the mysticizing manias which seem nowadays to bedevil 
people's minds. 

The theologians define magic as the art of doing miraculous 
things either with the help of the devil (black magic) or 
without him (white magic). It is possible that there have been 
people who made compacts with the devil in order to perform 
their miraculous deeds, but the record that has remained of 
cases to which no natural explanation would appear to apply is 
neghgible. At any rate the whole subject of so-called magic has 
today attained the status of an experimental science, and we 
can now turn the full light of day on to all the alleged mysteries 
of ancient times. 

The Bavarian seminary professor Dr Staudenmaier tells us in 
his book 1 that by advice of his colleagues he attempted and 
achieved all the things that once caused consternation to 
Christian and heathen alike. Dr Staudenmaier began his studies 
by schooling himself to produce the manifestations of medium- 
istic writing. He took a pencil between his fingers and waited 
for them to produce the motion of writing of their own accord. 
The attempt had no results. Repeating the experiment next 
day, he was equally unsuccessful. Tired out and disappointed, 
he would have abandoned the whole thing, had not his friends 
urged him to continue. He yielded to them, and started afresh. 

One day he observed, while concentrating his thoughts on 
the pencil, that there was a motion in his fingers, and the pencil 
began to draw circles, which however did not have the form of 
letters at all. Thoroughly worn out, he abandoned the experi- 
ment, only to resume it on the following day. This time he 
noticed that the motion was stronger than before, and the pencil 

1 Die Magie als Experimentelle Naturwissenschafty Leipzig, 1932. 

1 86 Occult Phenomena 

ultimately wrote "Julie Nome is here", this being the name 
of a well-known medium. Shortly after this the pencil wrote a 
number of other names and recorded a number of com- 

It was not long before he did not require the pencil at all 
in order to become the recipient of messages. The various 
personalities themselves spoke, one after the other, whenever he 
wished them to do so. On these occasions he almost lost conscious- 
ness (he had passed into a condition of artificial sleep), but he 
was still able to observe that his throat become constricted when 
a child appeared and spoke to him (it was really he himself 
who was the speaker), while he felt his chest expand and was 
conscious of assuming a soldierly bearing when the Emperor 
appeared and spoke to him in his characteristic fashion. Again 
he was still aware of the fact that it was not the Emperor, but 
he himself who was doing the speaking. 

As his proficiency increased, people began to appear to him 
and told him things which in his waking condition he had not 
known before, but now read in the souls of others, even when 
those others were not present at all ; thus he was able by degrees 
to reproduce all the manifestations of spiritualism and occultism 
— a feat, incidentally, which was reproduced later by Meyer l 
and by Heredia — and was actually able to achieve the movement 
of objects by the power of his thought, to bring about the break- 
ing of peas in a glass, the movement of food in the bowel, the 
stinking of the devil, and other allegedly magical phenomena. 

His supposedly magical powers developed still further. He 
saw and heard quarrelling between the people with whom he 
conversed, and they came to him without his even wanting 
them to do so; they came by day and by night, leaving him 
no peace at all. He now realized how his nervous system had 
already suffered, that he was nearly going mad and could no 
longer protect himself against the spirits. It was only by a great 
effort, and by applying the whole power of his soul, that he 
was able to free himself from the grip of these "spirits". He 
has described his experiences in the above-mentioned book. 
If it were not for the fact that it was so dangerous to health, 
one would feel tempted to urge others to try these experiments, 

1 Dessoir, Okkultismus in Urkunden, l^V, p. 454. 

Occult Phenomena 187 

and that means not only the tricks of a Heredia and a 
Dunninger, which hurt nobody, but also the purely spiritual 
experiments. Thus all could convince themselves that there is 
no need for any devil in order to explain either mental suggestion 
or the reading of the thoughts of distant persons. In this way 
the proof would be established that all that was previously, and 
still is, assumed to be the work of spirits derives from one's own 
soul, when, in an abnormal state, it produces hallucinations. 
We could then leave a Dr Faustus, a Paracelsus, a Nostradamus, 
a Cagliostro and such strange creatures as the fantastic Heinrich 
Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim, to have as many "conversa- 
tions with the devil" as they desired. 

We knew a certain countess who had communications with 
the souls of the dead, which actually appeared to her, and 
another lady who believed herself to be possessed, both of 
whom came near to going insane. They are the kind of people 
who, as Dr Helot points out,l spend their whole lives in a state 
of hallucination, split personality and madness — a miserable 
state. The sorry story of the witches and their dreams, the 
"necromancy" and "crystallomancy" of the ancients, to which 
there are references in classical writers such as Horace,^ 
Cicero, 3 Tacitus,'^ Suetonius and the elder Pliny, in Diocassius 
and Lucan — these things apparently were not enough, we still 
had to have the modern epidemic of spiritualism, of which 
mention is already made in Holy Scripture, and which is 
condemned there. ^ 

Ethnology teaches us that in the earliest stage of civilization, 
namely in the hunting and foraging stage, where pure mono- 
theism prevailed, there is no trace either of magic or witchcraft. 
It was only when man sank to the secondary stages that the 
belief in one God became more remote to him and that he 
surrendered himself to the devil, with whom he both played 
and fought. This is equivalent to saying that the further 
removed men became from the innocence of Paradise, the more 
they sought to make use of the rudiments of their sometimes 
preternatural gifts, and thus attempted to achieve by this 

1 Les nivroses et les possessions diaboliques. 2 Sat., I, 8, 25. 

3 Tuscul. Qiiaest., I, 16. "• Annales, II, 28. 

5 Deut. 1 8. 10; I Kings 28. 8, 7; Lev. 20. 27. 

1 88 Occult Phenomena 

round-about method what they were no longer capable of doing 
directly, namely to know and to be masters of nature after the 
manner of pure spirits. These magical practices were of course 
not indulged in in order to gain that better knowledge of the 
Creator which was sought by the mystics; the purpose was 
rather to get the better of him so that he might cease to be in a 
position of advantage ; or it was to obtain sensual gratification 
or material benefit, or to achieve revenge on an enemy by 
frightening him, harming him or destroying him. 

That is why magic assumed world dimensions, so that in the 
course of centuries it has become a real disease of the spirit. It 
is therefore high time to lay bare its sources — and, with these, 
perhaps, its cure. An example related by Bishop Schneider l 
will serve this purpose very well. 

A certain explorer named Matzuschkin gave this de- 
scription of a piece of magic, encountered while on an 
expedition to the North Pole, to a friend in St Petersburg: 
" In the middle of the Jurta a bright fire was flickering around 
which there was a circle of black sheep skins. On these last 
a Shaman was walking around with a measured rhythmical 
tread and repeating the magic formulae in a low voice. His 
long, black shaggy hair covered his swollen dark red face 
almost completely. From beneath this veil there flashed from 
under bushy eyebrows a pair of glowing bloodshot eyes. His 
clothing, a long robe made of animal skins, was covered 
from top to bottom with more animal skins, chains, bells, and 
pieces of copper and iron. In his right hand he had his magic 
drum, which was similarly decorated with bells and took the 
form of a tambourine, while in his left he held a bow with 
the string relaxed. His face was gruesome, wild and terrible. 
The company sat in silence, tensely attentive. Gradually the 
flame in the centre of the Jurta burned low, only the coals 
still glowed and radiated a dim light. The Shaman threw 
himself on to the ground, and when he had been lying there 
about five minutes, he broke into a kind of melancholy 
sighing, a dull suppressed kind of crying which sounded as 
though it was produced by a number of voices. After a time 

1 Der neuere Geisterglaube, pp. 40 ff. 

Occult Phenomena 189 

the fire became bright again, and the flames rose high. The 
Shaman leapt up, placed his bow upon the ground, then 
leaning his forehead on one end of it, be began to move 
around this bow in a circle, at first moving slowly and then 
accelerating the pace. After this circular motion had con- 
tinued for so long that my head had begun to swim from 
merely watching him, the Shaman suddenly stopped and 
stood still, showing no sign whatever of giddiness, and began 
to trace all manner of figures in the air with his hands, then 
with a sort of enthusiasm he seized his drum, which he 
tapped, as it seemed to me, in a definite tune, shortly after 
which he began to leap about, now faster, now more slowly, 
jerking his whole body with astonishing rapidity. What 
particularly struck me was the movement of his head, which 
he continually turned with such rapidity that it resembled 
a ball hurled around at the end of a piece of string. During 
all these activities the Shaman had smoked with a certain 
greed a number of pipes of the strongest Circassian tobacco, 
drinking a sip of brandy in between. Both articles were 
handed him at a sign which he made from time to time. The 
tobacco, the brandy and the continual turning must after all 
have induced giddiness at last, for he suddenly fell to the 
ground and remained there stark and motionless. Two of the 
onlookers now sprang up and began to sharpen a pair of 
large knives against each other immediately above his head. 
This seems to have recalled the Shaman to consciousness. 
He began his strange melancholy sighing anew, and com- 
menced slowly and jerkily to move his body. The two men 
who had been whetting their knives raised him and stood 
him upright. His aspect was hideous. His eyes stood out 
staring from his head, his face was red all over ; he seemed to 
be completely unconscious and apart from a slight trembling 
of his whole body, there was no movement or sign of life to 
be observed in him. Suddenly he seemed to awaken from 
this paralytic state. With his right hand resting upon the bow, 
he swung the magic drum rapidly round his head and then 
let it fall to earth, which showed, as the onlookers explained 
to me, that he was now fully inspired and could have 
questions addressed to him. I approached him; he stood 

I go Occult Phenomena 

there motionless, with completely lifeless face and eyes, and 
neither my questions nor the answers which he gave, without 
for a moment reflecting on them, brought any change in his 
dazed appearance. I asked him about the outcome and 
success of our expedition, of which most certainly no one in 
that whole gathering had the remotest conception, and he 
answered every question, doing so in a somewhat oracular 
style indeed, but nevertheless with a kind of certainty which 
suggested that he was familiar with the main purpose and 
also with the incidental circumstances of my journey. Here 
are some of his answers which I have reproduced as far as 
possible word for word. 'How long will our journey last?' 
'Over three years.' 'Shall we achieve much?' 'More than 
your people expect at home.' 'Shall we all remain in good 
health ? ' 'All except yourself, but you will not be ill,' (All this 
was to prove more or less true, for Matzuschkin was to suffer 
for some time from a cut on his thumb, which owing to 
frequent frost-bite was to become very nasty.) I asked him 
among other things after one of our colleagues. Lieutenant 
Anjou, from whom I had been separated for some time. 'He 
is now three days' journey from Balna, where he had to endure 
a fearful storm on the Lena and only saved his life with 
difficulty.' (This too was later to be exactly confirmed.) 
He also spoke of my wife's large blue eyes. This caused the 
women and girls of the Jurta to ask what was meant by blue 
eyes, and the whole gathering' was astonished at hearing of 
blue eyes in a human face, for the only eyes of which they 
could form any conception were the small black eyes which 
are the only kind of eyes to be found in this region. Many of 
his answers, however, were so obscure — one might almost 
say, so poetic — that none of my interpreters were able to 
translate them for me. They declared these utterances to be 
"exalted or, as they call them here, 'fable language'. When all 
the curious in the company had been satisfied, the Shaman 
again fell down and remained lying on the ground for about 
a quarter of an hour, twitching all the time and being shaken 
by violent spasms. It was explained to me that during this 
time the devils were going out of him again, and for this 
reason, in addition to their ordinary passage of exit, which 

Occult Phenomena 191 

was the chimney, the door was also opened for them. 
Incidentally their departure seemed an easier matter than 
' their entry, for which four hours had been required. At last 
all was over. The Shaman got up and on his face there was 
an expression of surprise and wonder, like that of a man 
who wakens from a deep sleep and finds himself in a large 
company. He looked at all those around him, one after the 
other, my own person in particular attracted his attention, 
and it seemed as though he saw me for the first time. I 
turned to him and requested elucidation of some of his 
darker sayings. He looked at me in astonishment and shook 
his head in token of negation, as though he had never heard 
the like." 

"As often as I observed the Siberian Shamans performing 
their official functions," says another eye-witness, l "they made 
a most uncanny, an unforgettable impression upon me. The 
wild look, the bloodshot eyes, the labouring breast, the in- 
articulate cries, the seemingly involuntary distortions of the 
face and twistings of the body, the waving hair — yes, even the 
hollow sound of the drum, heightened the effect, and I fully 
understand that such a sight must, to an uneducated observer, 
appear to be the work of evil spirits" — which may well be 
exactly what it is. 

Here we have a description of the various phases of magical 
procedure, the eflforts to fall into a trance, the suppression of 
the senses, clairvoyance and all the other customary phenomena, 
and finally the awakening. Even if all this appears to be 
abnormal, it can almost all be explained by the powers of the 

That this is the true explanation is proved by the ways in 
which the Shaman is chosen and prepared for his task. These 
are described for us by Pater Schmidt ^ (following Lankenau). 
"To become a Shaman," he writes, "it is essential that the 
candidates should be sickly, weak, and thin. A strong and 
vigorous man is not consecrated to this calling, but if, by 
favour of the ' tagei ' or wood spirit, a man develops a meditative 

1 Cf. Castren, Reiseberichte . . . , 1845- 1849, p. 173. 

2 Ursprung der Gottesidee, Vol. IX, p. 687. 

192 Occult Phenomena 

habit, becomes an epileptic or shows a disposition to fall into a 
violent rage, then it is considered that he will certainly be a 
good Shaman and the 'Ulu Kam' chooses him for initiation 
into his own secrets." If he is exhausted by disease, he is 
magnetized and left alone for a year, so that the spirits may 
appear to him. After undergoing this experience the usages and 
obligations of the Shaman's state become easy for him — all of 
which confirms the views here expressed. [A word of comment 
is in place here on one aspect of Matzuschkin's experience, for 
it might appear at first sight that the Shaman was actually 
endowed with prophetic powers. There is, however, no reason 
to suppose this. It is highly probable that Matzuschkin had 
himself already formed some estimate of the probable duration 
of his expedition and that this estimate was correct. In that case 
we can surely assume that the Shaman did no more than read 
what was in his mind. In the matter of the cut thumb, it is 
probable that a small cut had actually already been made, in 
which case the Shaman would know the probable consequences 
of such a cut in such a climate. A more likely explanation is that 
he became aware of some minor latent malady in Matzuschkin 
and that the superimposition of the trouble with the thumb 
was a coincidence. — Translator's note.] 

Wherever we encounter magic (or mediumistic powers), we 
find things very much as described above. Newspapers dated 
the 28th January, 1925, recount that at the " Jakobimarkt " in 
Mastholte large-scale thefts took place every year without any- 
one being able to trace the thief. The family that owned the 
inn always anticipated the Feast of St James with feelings of 
fear, and the emergency was so great that it was decided to 
have recourse to a man reputed to be clairvoyant, namely 
the " magnetopath " Petzold of Bielefeld. This man came and 
by means of autosuggestion put himself into a trance, 

then he began to dance ecstatically around the room, like a 
dervish, spreading out his fingers, and looking with his great 
sparkling eyes, which resembled those of an animal trainer, 
like a man utterly lost in a dream, as he stared into space. 
Then, as though speaking from another world, he said with a 
voice that resembled that of a ghost: "The thief will come 

Occult Phenomena 1 93 

again this year. I see a man with black hair, powerfully and 
stockily built, entering the inn at the stroke of eleven. He 
passes right through the crowd in the tap room, and goes 
immediately to the stairs, cUmbs them, and I lose sight of 
him ; he disappears in a dark passage. This man is the thief 
you are looking for." After this Petzold awoke from his dream 
state, rubbed his eyes and came to himself sufficiently to 
collect his fee. The police were notified. On the day in 
question, at the stroke of eleven, the man arrived, pushed his 
way through the crowd and mounted the stairs. Such was the 
excitement of the police that they nearly sounded the alarm 
too soon. Five minutes later they did so. The thief had hidden 
himself in the curing room and had already stolen a number 
of things, which were now taken from him, and a search of 
his home brought to light everything that had been stolen in 
previous years. 

When Petzold was asked how it was possible for him to 
have a detailed knowledge of things with which he was 
wholly unacquainted, he replied: "I cannot explain it. I 
see a thing, and I hear a thing, but I do not know how this 
comes about. Naturally these things are only possible when 
I can attain the maximum of concentration, and when I am 
completely undisturbed." 1 

It is impossible to say whether we are here dealing with the 
old-fashioned type of magician or with a modern medium in a 
trance ; the phenomena connected with each really merge into 
one another. Incidentally it is worth noting that here also we 
might infer the possession of prophetic powers, but, as in other 
cases, there is really no need to do anything of the kind. Petzold, 
being gifted with clairvoyance, certainly saw what happened 
in the past, and also to some extent the reasons for it. Thus 
the articles taken were mostly cutlery, which would have been 
locked away had the thief come at a different hour, and there 
were doubtless other reasons connected with the routine of the 
inn which made him choose this particular time ; and it was a 
reasonable inference to suppose that the same reasons would 
influence his actions in any future visit. That Petzold should 

1 Feldmann, Okkulte Philosophie, pp. 122 fF. 

194 Occult Phenomena 

have foretold that the thief would repeat his visit that year 
may have been a lucky guess, or Petzold may have read the 
intention in the thief's mind. 

We will refrain from adding to these examples, for examples 
can be found in sufficient quantity in the relevant books (which 
exist in almost every language) by anyone who cares to consult 
them. The explanation of the phenomena in question is a far 
more important matter, and there is at present no theory which 
explains them adequately ; for it does not help matters simply 
to give these manifestations a name, and to call them telepathy 
or telaesthesia. This helps us as little as the denial of the actual 
facts themselves. 

Our explanation must be based on the existence of powers 
whose reality is proved in some other fashion, or which can be 
deduced philosophically from other branches of knowledge. We 
have called these powers remnants of the exceptional gifts of 
the first men, which though atrophied by the Fall, are still 
present in us. 

It is true that today these remnants show two forms of 
faultiness. First of all, they only represent a small residuum of 
the purely spiritual qualities of the soul, since this same soul is 
still bound to the body. It is for this reason that they can never 
attain the full scope of the achievements which we have above 
ascribed to pure spirits or to the human soul free from the body. 
The soul under hypnosis, as also in the other states of sleep, is 
only half free of the body ; that is why in all these manifestations 
the element of rationality peculiar to the corporal soul, the 
element of "sense" is absent, as it is absent in the dreams that 
come during natural sleep. In hypnotism this gap in rationality 
is filled by the hypnotist who guides the powers of his subject. 
That is why better results are produced under hypnosis than in 
spiritualist seances. This element of guidance, which in normal 
circumstances pertains to the corporal soul and in hypnosis to 
the hypnotist, is supplied in psychometry by some object which 
acts as a reminder of the person concerning whom some informa- 
tion is desired ; in spiritualism it is supplied by the wishes of 
those present, in the dreams of witches by the general mania 
of the time. These last, however, are not sufficiently clear for 
the guidance to be really sure. 

Occult Phenomena 1 95 

So much for the first weakness, which is partially corrected 
in the various ways described. There remains, however, a 
second one. It is the general weakness and slightness of the 
power, which is after all only a rudiment or shadow of one that 
was originally angelic. The greatness of that original power can 
be guessed if one considers the extraordinary things which 
can still be achieved by its vestigial remnants as exemplified 
in the case of a person who was laid across two chairs 
with only the head resting on one and the heels on the 
other. Here is another which anybody can try out for 
themselves. Let them get a strong man to stretch out his hand 
and remain in that position for as long as he can. It may be 
that he will be able to do this for some minutes, but a person 
under hypnosis can remain in this position for any time that is 
desired. 1 How great then must have been the powers of the 
first man. 

The use of these vestigial powers has in its time been 
exploited for the purposes of all kinds of magic ; it has been 
used, for instance, both to harm others and to heal disease, 
it was used for purposes of prophecy, of conjuration, of cursing, 
and for all manner of astonishing arts. Immense injury has 
thus been done to our belief in God and to the welfare of souls. 

(b) radiaesthesia (water-divining and metal-divining) 

The harm done in the aggregate to mental health by spiritu- 
alism and occultism is so great that it justifies the avoidance 
of certain practices which are innocent enough in themselves, 
but which tend to lead to an unhealthy mysticism. Among these 
last is what is called rabdomantia, or radiaesthesia, which is 
supposed to disclose the whereabouts of water or metal deposits. 
In these experiments, a rod of wood or metal is used, bent into 
the form of a Latin V, or alternatively a pendulum which 
oscillates above the object that is to be discovered. 

To form a correct estimate of the value of the divining-rod, 
one must realize that nearly all elements radiate, that is to say 
give out certain rays; this is done by radium, uranium and 
thorium, substances whose radioactive properties are known. 
1 Cf. Schneider, op. cit., p. 114, the accounts of Zollner. 

196 Occult Phenomena 

These heavy elements, with ninety or more negatively charged 
electrons circling around a positively charged nucleus like 
planets around the sun, are continually breaking up and 
dividing, and in doing so emit those rays which are called 
Alpha rays (positively charged) , Beta rays (negatively charged) 
and Gamma rays (X-rays, or Rontgen rays). Scientists assert 
that all other elements also send out similar rays, even though 
this cannot as yet be definitely proved. Since the various 
elements are distributed in the earth, there is continual 
radiation passing from the earth to the air, a radiation which 
has so great an effect on Uving things that the health of their 
bodies largely depends on it, and where such radiation does 
not exist, the vital processes of plants and animals are impaired. 

People often talk of harmful earth radiations, i- ^ though the 
expression is incorrect. What one should really say is that 
certain strata of the earth screen these radiations and that over 
them there are no radiations, a circumstance which has a 
deleterious effect on the growth of plants and animals and 
causes them to contract cancer. Radium rays heal cancer, but 
never or only very rarely cause it. Nevertheless it is clearly 
shown by the experiments of J, G. Wtist and J. Wimmer^ that 
we are concerned here with certain types of ray. Actually these 
men assert that polarized rays are emitted from objects which 
have equal wave-lengths with the nerves and with the magnet- 
ism of the earth, and that it is from the latter, especially, that 
vital energy passes to man in breathing. They also speak of a 
"screening" of these rays by bad conductors. 

It is known also that electric rays are diverted by a good 
conductor and screened by it ; now this occurs in the case of 
the earth rays when there is water or some other good conductor 
such as metal, coal, oil, etc. Above such deposits there is a lack 
of the radiations from the earth that are necessary for life, and 
the living organism is sensitive to this defect. The nerves 

1 A. E. Becker, Radiagoes maleficas do subsolo, Sao Paulo, 1935. 

2 H. H. Kritzinger, Todesstrahlen iind Wiimchelrute, Leipzig-Zurich, 1929; 
F. Dietrich, Erdstrahlen . . .? Ihr Wesen, ihre Wirksamkeit und wie wir uns von 
ihnen schiitzen konnen, Villach, 1952. 

3"tJber neuartige Schwingungen der Wellenlange 1-70 cm in der 
Umgebung anorganischer und organischer Substanzen sowie biologischer 
Objekte", in Archiv ^iir Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen, Roux, 1934. 

Occult Phenomena 197 

contract and are subject to an unusual kind of agitation. The 
diviner's rod, which now behaves in a manner different from 
its behaviour when over other parts of the earth, helps to show 
the presence of these disturbances. When people pass over such 
portions of the earth, they become conscious of the absence of 
the normal radiations, and if they live above them permanently, 
become subject to disease. All living organisms tend to be 
affected in such a situation ; plants develop cancer and die. 

For this reason certain apparatus has actually been designed 
in Germany, the purpose of which is to collect rays from other 
parts and to deflect them to the areas where they are lacking 
thus bringing health to the afflicted spots. 1 Theodore Czepl and 
F. Dietrich have been at much pains to trace these injurious 
subterranean watercourses and are thus rendering a great 
service to public health. Of late an entire literature has de- 
veloped on this subject, particularly since the discovery of 
cosmic rays (see p. 196, note 2). 

Up to this point we have been dealing with a purely physical 
phenomenon which has nothing to do with the occult at all, and 
actually some of the apparatus constructed, by Gay du Bourg 
for instance, 2 attains its results while dispensing wholly with 
the human element. The principle on which these contrivances 
work is that the conductivity of the air for electricity rises and 
falls according to the degree to which these rays are present or 
not. It would thus appear that the diviner's rod has really 
rendered great services to mankind. . . . 

It must of course be noted that it is not the diviner's rod 
itself which indicates the existence of these subterranean 
treasures, but the man behind it, as indeed has been shown by 
Professor Calami of Placenza, who was a diviner himself. 
Professor Calami declares that he always had the feeling "that 
a current was rising through his legs, passed from there into his 
arms and so into his hands, where they moved the rod".^ It 
was in this way that Colonel Heinemann (Bad Homburg 
V. d. H.) could disclose the presence of two strong courses of 
water in the Neunkirchner Hohe, which is very deficient in 

1 Cf. Unferirdische Wasseradern und Wehrmeisterapparate, by Fr Cyrillus 
Wehrmeister, St Ottilien, Bavaria, 1931. 

2 Feldmann, op. cit., p. 29. 3 Malfatti, Menschenseele, p. 126. 

1 98 Occult Phenomena 

water. The water-diviner Dickmann from Springe did much the 
same on the old Rodenberg near Bad Neundorf. Fr Lacroixi 
tells us of the French priests Marmet and Baulit who discovered 
explosive mines hidden in the ground by the Germans during 
the first world war. Professor Bert Reese discovered Rockfeller's 
petroleum deposits; M. Boulenger discovered water for 
Brugmann Hospital in Jetter St Pierre ; while Emil Jause dis- 
covered petrol on the property of Princess Radziwill and the 
coal deposits of Count Potocki in Poland. M. Moineau dis- 
covered large sources of water with which it was possible to 
supply the city of Toulon, Count Beausoleil, who was im- 
prisoned in the Bastille in 1641, was able to discover by means 
of his steel wand 1 72 deposits of metal which are in some cases 
still being exploited today. Another sixteenth-century water- 
diviner named Jacob Aymar was actually accounted a wizard 
because of the large sources of water which he discovered. Yet 
we know that all this was capable of an entirely natural 

For all that, the effects of this practice may be very far- 
reaching. While such experiments are in progress the subject 
finds himself in a state of excessive concentration and absorption, 
so that he is almost bereft of his senses and is only a step 
removed from actual trance. Indeed this has been accepted as 
a fundamental principle among diviners. F. Dietrich writes 2; 
"The significant change , . . lies ... in the cutting out to the 
maximum extent of the surface consciousness, i.e. of cerebral 
thinking in favour of the subconscious or of the emotional life, 
in favour, that is to say, of being guided by the feeling of the 
heart and the solar plexus." It is very rare for a true diviner 
not to take the step into actual trance. When he is in trance 
we can observe all the usual phenomena associated with 
artificial sleep. In such cases the rod, being an aid to the 
trance, helps him to discover the number of a house, to discover 
a thief (as was done by the aforementioned Aymard, who could 
find criminals), 3 to diagnose diseases, discover treasure, and 
solve mathematical problems. In the final stage the actual 

1 Espiritismo . . , , p. 141. 

2 Gyromantie, Grundlagen und praxis des Pendels, Villach, Stadler, 1949, p. 9. 

3 Malfatti, Menschenseele . . . , p. 133. 

Occult Phenomena 199 

divining rod is no longer necessary at all : the diviner simply 
observes the movement of his hand. This, however, really 
means that such people descend ever deeper into an unhealthy 
mysticism, with all the dangers for body and soul that we have 
already observed. 

In this connection the following words by Fr Gemelli, O.S.B., 
director of the University of Milan, are well worth noting: 
"One often begins by just playing about with a rod, then one 
finds pleasure in it, and in the end one becomes an impassioned 
radiaesthetist. It is then very easy, particularly in a time of 
religious ignorance, to confuse the supernatural with what is 
not supernatural at all, but merely a caricature of the super- 
natural. Thus spiritualism is a caricature of the suprasensory, 
and it opens the door for superstition, and many are the 
nervous maladies that result." 1 


As has already been observed, the only form in which these 
rudimentary powers should be used is in healing disease. All 
doctors know how important a thing for his cure is the patient's 
confidence, and the Church herself teaches that the spiritual 
strength imparted by extreme unction sometimes brings with it 
the healing of the body, if in other respects the disease has not 
progressed too far. 

But apart from this power under normal conditions, there are 
in the subconscious those purely spiritual powers of the soul 
which are remains of preternatural gifts. Sometimes these can 
achieve wonderful results. The philosophers Kant^ and 
Feuchtersleben^ already had some inkling of these powers, but 
it was the French schools, with Liebault and Coue at their 
head, which first constructed a system designed to aid the 
healing process by means of autosuggestion coming out of the 

Emile Coue (185 7- 192 6), together with Baudouin, laid down 
the manner in which the body can thus be influenced and 
formulated two principles. 

1 Revista Ecclesiastica Brasileira, 1942, p, 788. 

2 Die Macht des Gemiites. 3 Die Didtetik der Seek. 

200 Occult Phenomena 

1. "Every thought strives towards its own realization" — 
a fact with which we are already acquainted. The sensory 
nerves carry a perception to the brain, which influences the 
motor nerves. The more often such sense-stimuli occur, the 
more complete the bridge between the two groups of nerves, 
the easier the automatic motion of the muscles and the readier 
the radiations which, according to some, they emit. "Cumber- 
landism", "muscle reading" and the phenomenon discussed 
below of the "thinking horse" are all based upon this fact. 
Coue made use of this in order to arouse the thought of getting 
well. It is unfortunately true that man can do little to influence 
his vegetative life. Coue therefore sought to exploit the sub- 
conscious, particularly in order to overcome resistance, for in 
his view there is a second law which is almost the opposite of 
the first. 

2. "The law of effort producing an opposite effect." When 
the will commands an act, then the reason judges whether such 
an act is possible, reasonable, useful, etc., and so by its doubts 
and reflections prevents the first law from being eflfective. For 
this reason Coue chose for his suggestions the state of incipient 
half-sleep during which the obstructive powers cannot so freely 
or so successfully take effect. There exist entire peoples whose 
mental processes are still comparatively free from the habit of 
reflection, and who are untouched by the conclusions derived 
from physics and the natural sciences ; such peoples are more 
capable of extraordinary feats and miraculous cures than the 
civilized peoples, the possessors of the great and perhaps all too 
proud sciences. These last must be brought by artificial means to 
shut out, while in a state of sleep, all those doubts which a 
science, that professes to know all but in reality only knows 
half, tends to call into being ; even so, they rarely get so far that 
the powers of their spirit can exercise dominion over the law of 
gravity or that of the conservation of energy, whereas the Indian 
succeeds in these things with an ease quite beyond the Westerner. 
"Whosoever shall . . . not stagger in his heart, but believe that 
whatsoever he saith shall be done; it shall be done unto him" 
(Mark ii. 23). The very words of Our Lord, besides their 
religious significance, acquire a meaning regarded merely from 
the natural angle. 

Occult Phenomena 20 1 

To direct the powers of the body towards health in accord- 
ance with the first of the aforementioned laws, the most 
important thing is to obstruct the operation of the second law 
and cut out ratiocination and doubts. Coue seeks to attain this 
by means of acts of autosuggestion just before falhng alseep, or 
immediately after waking, and advises the patient to repeat 
with great conviction the words "Every day and in every way 
I am getting better and better." His intention is thus to set in 
motion all the powers of the subconscious and so of the pure 
spirit with all the sovereign power of the soul over the body and 
by this means to control the automatic movements of the 
vegetative life, to direct the blood to the affected parts, also to 
heal them. It is said that he achieved astonishing results, 
though, as has been demonstrated here, they were all perfectly 
natural. The following observations by Brauchle are illumina- 
ting in this connection 1 : 

Natural sleep at night also is a state of subconscious 
psychic activity. Our dreams show the nature of our sub- 
conscious thought function. During sleep consciousness is 
extinguished. In the moment of waking it returns. The great 
correspondence between hypnosis and sleep is proved by the 
fact that each leads easily into the other. Thus it sometimes 
happens in hypnosis that the hypnotized person begins to 
snore during treatment; by this he shows us that he has 
slipped out of the hypnotic state into that of natural sleep, 
and this means that he has lost his rapport with the hypnotist. 
If such a patient is spoken to, he may perhaps not awake but 
resume contact with the hypnotist and the hypnotic state is 
re-established. Conversely it is possible — almost invariably 
with children, and quite frequently with adults — to transform 
the normal sleep of the night into hypnosis. The procedure 
is as follows : One approaches the bed of the sleeping person 
and whispers softly and slov/ly to him, but nevertheless with 
a certain emphasis, repeating whatever is said, if possible, 
several times . . . the sleeping person may not give any sign, 
nevertheless such whispers often work wonders. Heart 
attacks, thumbsucking, stammering, bed-wetting and other 
propensities can thus be cured. 

1 Hypnose und Autosuggestion, p. 47. 

202 Occult Phenomena 

What matters then is our abihty to awaken the patient's 
confidence and imagination and to mobilize his subconscious 
and purely spiritual powers, which then work on the body. 

It is in the light of these principles that one must judge those 
superstitious practices which often have very good results 
because of the exceptional degree of faith which drives out all 
merely rational considerations. That is why a talisman is often 
effective, as are many other objects of superstition, simply 
because of the faith people place in them. 

At this point we should also consider Christian Science which 
is attaining greater vogue than ever today. It is the publishers of 
the Christian Science Monitor who have for half a century been 
spreading among the people the "science" of Mrs Baker Eddy 
(1821-1910). The last named is accounted the founder of this 
religious movement, and her book, Science and Health with Key of 
the Scriptures, expounds the view that by becoming intellectually 
one with God the idea of disease disappears and health results. 

In so far as there is an element of truth in any of this, it is 
founded on suggestion, and in particular on autosuggestion, 
that is, on ideas about health similar to those of Coue. Such 
ideas do no more than express the same truth in various forms, 
the truth that the soul has great influence on the body, though 
there is often in such cases an admixture of eclectic forms of 
piety which do more harm than good. 

In this connection we should also refer to Autogenous Training 
(J. H. Schulz), and to Frankl's Logos-Therapy, both of which, 
like Coueism and Christian Science, can show a certain record 
of success. All this is in keeping with the general experience of 
psychotherapy. Furthermore, even doctors without religion, 
concede the extent of the influence of religion on bodily health. 
Thus the surgeon Sauerbruch in Berlin, Professor Dr Miiller, 
Dr Jung in Zurich, Dr Allers in Vienna, all testify to the 
importance of religion for the health of the body. Dr Nieder- 
meyer speaks of the purposive activation of spiritual powers. 1 
Doctors even complain of the backwardness of certain circles 
in this respect: "In Goethe's day only a small number of 
people cleaned their teeth, and even this only occurred on an 
isolated occasion when the person concerned was taking a bath, 

1 Linzer Quartalshrift, 1937, 286. 

Occult Phenomena 203 

and he would perform this function with a coarse brush. Our 
bodily hygiene has progressed a little since then, but our 
spiritual hygiene is still exceedingly backward, for our most 
profound spiritual hygiene has been neglected and even 
opposed, much harm being done by this to the people, while 
our purely worldly hygiene remains soul-less." If then the 
normal influence of the soul has such psychotherapeutic 
importance, how much greater the extraordinary influence that 
comes out of the subconscious. Nor is that influence purely 
negative, as in hysteria, it can definitely be positive, though it 
does not go beyond certain limits. 

Nevertheless Fr Castelein reminds us that Rome requires 
something more than such apparently miraculous effects when 
it is a matter of canonization. It does not suffice that a wound 
should be instantaneously healed ; the skin must be completely 
replaced and there must be no scars, while a microbic infection 
healed instantaneously must have reached a stage where even 
the most powerful hypnosis would not suffice to heal it. Cures 
that are effected at spiritualist seances, and assist the propa- 
ganda which helps that epidemic to spread, are founded on the 
firm and perhaps subconscious faith of the devotees. In such 
cases a definite use is made of the powers of the spirit, powers 
which have dominion over matter and the body. Even so we 
do not know whether this kind of thing is conducive to the 
benefit of the human race, or whether it may not lead to a 
catastrophe the consequences of which will not bear thinking 

Most certainly these powers are also at work in the cures 
effected by the saints, and if such cures are greater than what 
can be effected by natural means, this is because religion calls 
powers into being that cannot exist without it. Certain doctors 
assure us that they have been able to call into being on some 
neurotic people something resembling stigmata, by means of 
suggestion ; actually, however, these phenomena are mere pale 
shadows of true stigmata. Nevertheless the fact that cures are 
achieved by the unaided powers of the spirit-soul must make us 
extremely cautious in assuming on any occasion that a miracle 
has taken place, for a miracle is, after all, something that 
surpasses the merely natural and originates in the direct action 

204 Occult Phenomena 

of God. Miracles of course occur, for though much that was 
formerly assumed to be miraculous is accounted by us today as 
the natural manifestation of the spiritual powers of man, there 
are nevertheless certain limits of which medical science is itself 
only too acutely conscious, and this despite all its practice of 
suggestion, hypnosis and psychotherapy. 

Genuinely miraculous cures, then, are something wholly 
distinct from the non-miraculous, though there will always be 
people whose whole outlook on life forces them to deny that 
such a distinction exists. As with occult phenomena, however, 
it is a question of simply examining the facts with an open 
mind, and of not coming to the enquiry with foregone con- 
clusions. Such materialists as Dessoir, Baerwald and Lehmann 
of course proceed from the assumption that only that may be 
admitted which in their opinion accords with physical laws 
of nature ; all else is rejected because such things just cannot be. 
Thus they will admit the existence of telepathy because, if 
necessary, they think they can explain it by some kind of 
physical radiation analogous to radio waves ; but if they come 
across a case of clairvoyance, in which there has been no 
"transmitter", they promptly construct one, either by setting 
up the so-called "whisper theory" or by accepting the idea, 
if the supposed transmitter happens to be dead, of telepathic 
infectious matter being "sprayed" on objects. If none of this 
can be sustained, they again simply deny the facts. 

This is the way in which the cures at Lourdes tend to be 
treated. Here people fall back on healing by suggestion, or if 
that explanation will not hold water, take refuge in the plea 
of ignorance, saying that the thing cannot "yet" be explained. 
A. Lehmann-Petersen 1 may be quoted as an example. We 
cannot, however, here deal at length with the medical discussion 
of the miracles of Lourdes. Many doctors, including such 
distinguished figures as Charcot and Bernheim, claim that there 
have been no reliably attested cures which go beyond what can 
be achieved by psychic treatment carried out under favourable 
conditions. The cures at Lourdes and similar places are said to 
have had their miraculous character attributed to them 
because people had not taken the trouble to investigate 
1 Aberglaube und ^auberei, p. 637. 

Occult Phenomena 205 

whether they were really concerned with some kind of organic 
damage or merely with a disturbance of nervous function (with 
so-called "functional" disease) ; the latter could be healed by 
psychic treatment, the former could not. The critics of such 
views have pointed out that an exact record is kept in Lourdes 
concerning every sick person that comes there, that the medical 
histories are attested by statements from the doctors who have 
previously treated the patient without success, and that no one 
is declared to be cured without a thorough examination. The 
whole material is available to any person who wishes to 
investigate the matter, and in the case of a cure, any doctor may 
examine the person concerned — and this has frequently been 
done. It must therefore be regarded as definitely established 
that cases of advanced tuberculosis, lupus (i.e. tuberculosis of 
the skin), malignant inflammations, etc., have in recent times 
been cured — in some instances instantaneously. 

Yet the sceptic will not admit defeat. Here is a typical 
excerpt from the writings of Lehmann-Petersen, to whom 
reference was made above : 

Even if we proceed on the assumption that at least some of 
the allegedly miraculous cures have really taken place, this 
does not prove that anything in the nature of a miracle has 
actually happened. It is true enough that a doctor cannot 
cure such maladies as these by suggestion, but then he cannot 
create the atmosphere of extreme suggestibility which is to be 
found at Lourdes and similar places, and which often borders 
on religious ecstasy. If such an essential condition is not 
present, the same results cannot be attained; therefore the 
assertion that it is not suggestion that achieves the miraculous 
cures has nothing to justify it. In most cases of the cure of 
organic disease we -are concerned, as already remarked, with 
tuberculosis of the lung, the skin (lupus), etc., that is to say 
with maladies where recovery may already begin to set in 
when the organism is assisted in its struggle against the disease 
by external and internal aids, the external ones being fresh 
air, sunhght and a plentiful diet, the internal ones tranquillity 
and the inner balance which religion can afford. It is there- 
fore easy to suppose that the organism can master the disease 

2o6 Occult Phenomena 

when a greatly heightened suggestibility directs all the 
patient's available energy to that end. At present we know so 
little about the influence of spiritual activity on the bodily 
organs and functions, that it is premature to speak of 
miracles simply because successes have occasionally been 
achieved for which at the moment we have no actual 

Now, on Lehmann's supposition, the extent of the degree of 
successful cures at Lourdes should be proportionate to the 
extent of the religious enthusiasm, but there is nothing to 
indicate this. Indeed, in 19 14 the international Eucharistic 
Congress was held at that place, and unprecedented numbers of 
people streamed together there, the tide of joy and expectation 
rose particularly high, but there was not a single cure. The 
writer is far from denying that psychic factors have great 
curative influence, but these have their limits. That makes it 
all the more necessary to cultivate an objective approach when 
examining a cure, and that is precisely what the unbelieving 
physician, and the scientist who has determined in advance 
that miracles are impossible, cannot do. The following example 
makes this plain 1 : 

"How have you been healed?" a doctor once asked a girl 
who for four years had been suffering from a suppurating 
inflammation of the hip, due to cancer of the bone, and who 
a few days previously had suddenly been restored to perfect 
health. Her pains had disappeared together with subsidence 
of the inflammation. "Who cured me? The Blessed Virgin." 
"Oh," replied the doctor, "let's leave the Blessed Virgin out 
of it. Confess that you were assured in advance that you 
would be healed. You were told : ' Once you are in Lourdes, 
you will at a certain moment leave the bed in which you are 
lying.' That is quite a common sort of occurrence. We call it 
suggestion." The girl replied that this was not at all the way 
the thing had happened. The doctor ended by oflfering her 
money if she would admit that she had really been cured by 
suggestion, but the girl refused. 

1 Donat, Freiheit der Wissenschaft, p. 294. 

Occult Phenomena 207 

Ernst Hackel behaved in much the same way when H. A. 
Rambacher sent him Boissarie's book about the cures at 
Lourdes. He wrote to Rambacher (Donat, p. 295) : 

I am returning you herewith with many thanks Dr 
Boissarie's book on The Great Cures at Lourdes. The reading 
thereof, which greatly interested me, has served further to 
convince me of the colossal power of superstition, glorified 
into pious faith, of naive credulity that proves nothing 
critically and of infectious mass suggestion. It has also con- 
vinced me of the slyness of the clergy which exploits these 
things for its own advantage. The doctors who testify to the 
miracles and to the supernatural manifestations are partly 
uneducated and uncritical quacks, and partly deliberate 
swindlers who are in league with the power-hungry priests. 
Zola in his well-known novel has given the true picture of the 
grandiose swindle of Lourdes. Again many thanks for your 
kindly solicitude on my behalf. 


We can learn much from the behaviour of this same Zola. 
I quote from Fr Donat (p. 295) : 

It should be known how the famous novelist behaved in 
regard to the facts of Lourdes. In the year 1892, at the time 
of the great pilgrimages, Zola came to Lourdes. He wanted to 
observe and then describe what he had seen. It was to be a 
historical novel, and time and again he had the statement 
repeated in the press that he would present the whole truth. 
In Lourdes all doors were open to him, he was admitted 
everywhere, was able to ask any questions he pleased and 
demand any explanations. A single incident serves to 
illustrate the manner in which he honoured his promise to 
tell the truth. On the 20th August, 1892, Marie Lebranchu 
came to Lourdes with an incurable affection of the lungs. 
She was suddenly healed and never had a relapse. One year 
after her cure she returned to the miraculous grotto, and the 
excellent condition of her lungs was again confirmed. But 
what did Zola make of these happenings ? He lets the cured 
girl, when she first returns home, have a terrible relapse, "a 
brutal recurrence of the malady", as he calls it, "which 

2o8 Occult Phenomena 

remains the victor after all". The president of the Lourdes 
enquiry bureau introduced himself one day to Zola in Paris, 
and cross-questioned him. "How could you dare", he said, 
"to let Marie Lebranchu die? You know that she is as well 
as you or I." " What do I care ? " came the reply. " I suppose 
I have the right to present my characters as I please, since 
I am their creator." Yet an author who wishes to exploit such 
freedom should not put it about that he proposes to write a 
historical novel that is factually accurate. Still less should 
other people see in such productions a "true picture" of 

Fairly recently Dr Franz L. Schleyer subjected the cures of 
Lourdes to a critical examination i and made a searching study 
of 232 cases. Some of these were excluded because of the lack 
of a medical history, in others there was the possibiHty of a 
natural explanation, but 37 cases he was obliged to declare 
extra-medical and inexplicable. Medicine stands resourceless 
before advanced tuberculosis of the bone and lung, before the 
club foot and the pupil that is impervious to light, and the 
atrophied optic nerve. Yet in Lourdes these things have been 
the subject of instantaneous cures. Schleyer also discusses the 
case of Mile Lebranchu, who died in 1920, and declares this 
cure to be extra-medical. 

When Hackel speaks of " uneducated and uncritical quacks" 
it is particularly apposite to refer to a recent French book by 
the Nobel Prize-winning physician Alexis Carrel whose notes 
are the foundation of the little book The Miracle of Lourdes 
(Stuttgart, 195 1). He discusses the case of Marie Bailly who 
suffered from "tubercular inflammation of the abdomen in its 
final stages". Carrel was an unbeliever, and said to the person 
accompanying him: "I would gladly sacrifice all my theories 
and hypotheses if I could only witness so interesting and 
moving a phenomenon" (i.e. a miracle). He wrote of Marie 
Bailly when she was led to the bath : "The young girl has nothing 
more to lose, the death agony has already set in." Marie Bailly 
was suddenly healed. "A complete cure within a matter of a 
few hours — the dying creature with the blue face and the 

1 Die Heilungen von Lourdes, Eine kritische Untersuchung, Bonn, 1949, 
H. Bouvier & Co. 

Occult Phenomena 209 

swollen belly and the wild pulse had been transformed into an 
admittedly emaciated but otherwise normal young girl." 
Carrel was later converted. Schleyer discusses this case and 
says that the disappearance of this malady is "hard to explain". 

We may summarize as follows : It is possible that means will 
one day be found by which tubercular inflammation of the 
abdominal wall can be instantaneously healed ; so long as such 
means are not available, we must regard such sudden healings 
of typhus, tuberculosis of the knee, "tubercular abscesses of 
ossal origin" etc., of which Dr Schleyer adduces 37 examples, 
as not being explicable in natural terms. It may well be that 
many diseases of psychogenic origin can be cured by means of 
hypnotism, Christian Science, Coueism and by popular healers 
in much the same way as this happens thousands of times at 
Lourdes without the thing being looked upon as a miracle at 
all by the bureau, but there is an essential difference between 
such occurrences as these and true miracles. 

Winterstein i summarizes the matter thus : 

Miracles, if one concedes their existence at all, are unique 
"breakthroughs" of the order of nature brought about by 
divine intervention. It is its uniqueness that is the mark of 
the miracle, whereas parapsychology (which is "a science in 
process of development" [W. Ostwald] but not a religion) 
seeks in its own territory to discover regular sequences, that 
is to say laws of nature, and is not unsuccessful in finding 
them. As against this, I must reject another definition that 
treats miracles as natural phenomena which, owing to our 
limited knowledge, we do not yet understand (Wagner- 
Jauregg), for if that were accepted, the occult phenomena in 
general would all be miracles, as would indeed other 
manifestations of nature. 

This general definition fits the actual facts very well. In 
Lourdes, for instance, the occurrence of cures is wholly 
incalculable and subject to no kind of regularity, for they fail 
to occur just when circumstances appear most favourable and 
vice versa, whereas magnetic cures, if they are carried out with 
care, are usually successful. 

1 Telepathie und Hellsehen, p. 172. 

210 Occult Phenomena 

Some years ago the appearance of a certain Mirim Dajo 
excited much attention. This man, whose real name was 
Henskes Arnold, and who was born in Holland in 1912, 
presented himself to the doctors of Zurich, claiming the quality 
of being completely invulnerable.! Actually he permitted them 
to stab him from the back with a round, very sharp dagger near 
the base of the spine, the dagger piercing right to the front and 
no bleeding was to be observed at the two skin wounds. With 
the dagger sticking fast in him he went up to the X-ray depart- 
ment on the first floor where X-rays were taken. These showed 
that the liver had been pierced, though the lung and kidneys 
had probably not been touched. There was, however, no 
bleeding when the dagger was withdrawn. Other scars caused 
by such dagger wounds were also observed. 

Mirim Dajo was not under hypnosis, but was regarded as a 
fakir who kept his body extremely elastic by spiritual training, 
so that heart and aorta could escape the thrust when he was 
stabbed, and receive no serious injury. It is true that at the 
age of thirty-five he died from swallowing a 35-centimetre 
needle with a 2 •5-centimetre head which had damaged the 
alimentary canal. The case of Mirim Dajo simply proves how 
greatly the body can be influenced by spiritual training, 
though this too has its limits. In a recent rather curious book^ 
this "Fluidal Man" is represented as the victim of the doubters, 
the curious and the journalists, who always demanded the 
extraordinary, till at last the limit of nature's possibilities was 
passed and the man succumbed. 

In conclusion, let it once more be made clear that the 
spirit-soul, acting on the body, can undoubtedly effect cures 
(as also illnesses) which surpass the normal and might thus be 
taken for miracles. This only shows that great caution must be 
observed before affirming that a miracle has taken place, 
particularly when diseases of a psychogenic character are 
involved of a kind that can be cured from the spiritual side. 

Even if today we do not exactly know the limits up to which 
the effects of spiritual influence extend, an influence which can 

1 See Mensch und Schicksal, 1948, p. i, and Schweizerische Medizinische 
Wochenschrift, 1948, p. 352. 

2 Hans Malik, Der Baiimeister seiner Welt, Vienna, 1949, p. 206. 

Occult Phenomena 211 

most certainly be strengthened by religious enthusiasm, we 
know nevertheless that there are provinces to which that 
influence does not extend; we know that not even the most 
powerful spiritual influence can straighten a club foot, or 
instantaneously make whole a broken bone. The power of the 
spirit-soul, as here described and discussed, may therefore be 
great indeed, but there are for all that limits to it. Beyond 
those limits lies the territory reserved for the miracles of God. 

(d) crystal-gazing 

One of the oldest ways of gaining access to the knowledge 
contained in the subconscious is so-called crystal-gazing, or 
crystalloscopy. The essence of this is that the person engaged on 
it fixes his gaze on some bright object such as a mirror, a bright 
sphere, stone or vessel, or on the palm of his hand which is 
filled with oil, water or ink, or again on to his finger nail, a 
piece of coal or a bright leaf; thus he falls into a hypnoidal 
state and projects into the object the telepathic experiences 
which he undergoes and the perceptions which he makes by 
clairvoyance. This is a very ancient practice, and one known to 
all peoples. Even in the Bible there is mention of the cup which 
Joseph had put into Benjamin's sack of corn the loss of which 
was immediately noticed at the court of Pharaoh, since the cup 
was one from which Pharaoh drank "and was wont to divine" 
(Gen. 44. 5). Numa Pompilius, Cagliostro and Marie Antoin- 
ette, as well as a number of men of learning, used this "manhole 
to the subconscious" (Tischner) in order to gain knowledge of 
things and happenings which were not cognizable by the senses. 
The bright objects play a part which is essentially that of a 
"visual stimulus" which can be assisted further by incense and 
suggestion ; a kind of trance is thus brought into being which 
helps to produce the phenomena of telepathy and clairvoyance. 

The Englishwoman Miss Goodrich-Freer (Miss X) has made 
many experiments in this field, and finds that about 30 per 
cent of all persons have good aptitude for it, though the degree 
and nature of endowment within that percentage differ very 
widely. With some people it appears suddenly, while with 
others it only develops gradually ; some people see figures that 

212 Occult Phenomena 

move, with others they are immovable; some see the figures 
for a short time only, others can continue gazing at them for as 
long as they desire; sometimes the figures are as large as life, 
on other occasions they are so small that they must be examined 
with a magnifying glass. There are no general rules to be 
followed in learning or practising this skill, since in this regard 
every person is differently constituted. 

Here is an example from the Orient, as recounted by the 
Englishman Theodore Besterman,! who has written the best 
monograph on this subject. A magician from Algiers took a 
child, drew a square in its hand that had certain signs in it, 
poured ink into the centre thereof, and told the child to look at 
the reflection of its face in the ink. Immediately the child did 
this he had a bucket of coals brought, threw a number of herbs 
in it and told the child to say when a Turkish soldier appeared. 
The child bent its head down, the bucket of coals spread a 
strong aroma, while the magician mumbled his incantations. 
When the child saw the Turkish soldier, it began to scream with 
fear, whereupon the magician set a small Arab servant in its 
place and went through the same procedure with him as he 
had done with the child. Soon the boy cried out, "There he is" 
(meaning the Turk), and described the man's clothing and how 
he was sweeping the place. Then came the Sultan upon a 
noble horse, etc. 

This is a good case of visual stimulus increasing suggestibility. 
The child, put into a trance with the aid of a mirror-like surface 
and the scented smoke, saw everything suggested to it by the 
magician. Another example is given by the missionary Trilles, 
who explored among the wild pygmy tribes in the African 
forest together with Mgr Le Roy. When one day during their 
journey they found a tortoise for their supper — they were 
exceedingly hungry at the time — Le Roy said jestingly, "If 
the worst comes to the worst, we will add the head of our 
guide". The witch doctor in the neighbouring village had "seen 
and heard" everything in his magic mirror, although he knew 
no French, and repeated it all to the missionaries when they 
arrived, which greatly astonished them. When they asked the 
witch doctor about a despatch of goods that was coming, he took 

1 Crystal-Gazing, London, 1924, p. 80. 

Occult Phenomena 213 

his mirror and told them exactly where it was at the time and 
when it would arrive. His information proved perfectly correct. 

The things seen in crystal-gazing are not always the result of 
telepathy; they may be things which have been implanted in 
the subconscious and have been forgotten. Thus Miss X used 
the crystal to remember things which she had forgotten, or to 
find something that she had lost, such as the prescription of a 
doctor which she ultimately found among the letters of a friend. 
The "Seer of Prevorst" saw everything in a soap bubble, and 
could thus find lost documents or complete the dreams which 
in the morning she could no longer exactly remember ; here a 
certain hypermnesia was at work. It is always the same region 
of the spirit to which we are transported whether in dreams, in 
trance or in any other state in which we withdraw from the 
life of the senses. 

As already indicated, crystal-gazing may also be associated 
with clairvoyance. This occurs when things are seen of which 
no person in one's immediate surroundings can possibly have 
any knowledge. It occurs for instance when a fire on board ship 
is foreseen, or the results of an elephant hunt are predicted. 
Where there is apparent foreknowledge, we must assume that 
the process described earlier has come into action. Much is then 
inferred from circumstances that already exist but are unknown 
to the waking consciousness. Small differences between the 
thing seen in the crystal and the actual happening when it 
occurs merely prove that it is impossible to foresee things that 
depend wholly on the human will. 

The pouring of molten lead on New Year's Day and the 
reading of tea leaves are popular pastimes that have a kind of 
afiinity to the above, and indeed this form of " prophecying " 
may well be reckoned the most harmless of all those known. 

(e) spiritualism 

The best known and most widely spread form of occultism 
is spiritualism. This cult not only contains most of the other 
forms of occultist practice, but is followed today by millions of 
people in all parts of the world. It is thus a great spiritual 
movement, whose foundation is the conviction that it can 

2 1 4 Occult Phenomena 9 

establish communication with the dead by means of mediums ; 
for this reason it is also called "mediumism", though mediums 
are to be found in other forms. The peculiar thing about 
spiritualism is this, that though its devotees seek to have com- 
munication with the dead, they dare not do it immediately but 
seek to put an intermediary agency between the latter and 
themselves. These intermediary agencies are the mediums who 
in their turn make use of controls or controlling spirits, some- 
times several at a time, in order to obtain the required messages. 

The belief in the possibility of communicating with the spirits 
of the dead is very ancient indeed. There is hardly a people 
among whom it is not to be found. It exists among primitive 
peoples and existed among the peoples of antiquity. Among the 
civilized nations it comes as a reaction against a period of 
exaggerated rationalism and materialism. In ancient times \ 
necromancy was very widespread, and it was thus that men 
sought to establish communication with the dead. Already in 
Babylon they believed in ghosts that gave knocks ; Herodotus i 
and most Latin authors tell us of the conjuration of the souls of 
the dead ; even the Israelites practised the art from time to > 
time.i In order to suppress this superstition, Moses enjoined 
that those engaging in the practice should be stoned^ (Ilevf 

Tertullian, the great African apologist (160-240 a.d.), tells 
of materializations, calling up of the dead, trances and states 
of artificial sleep, of putting questions to talking tables 
[phantasmata edunt defunctorum informant animas . . . somnia emittunt 
mens ae per daemones divinare consuerunt) P- 

Christianity caused this form of communication with the 
next world to drop, and St John Damascene (754), to quote 
but one example, makes no mention of it, despite the fact that 
in his De Fide Orthodoxa he speaks of the devil. It was only in 
the thirteenth century that, together with the witches, this form 
of demonomania appeared, and then it lasted right up to the 
eighteenth century, when it gave place to spiritualism. 

Modern spiritualism had its beginning in the town of 
Hydesville, U.S.A., in the year 1847. In a family that had been 

1 Deut. 18. II, and I Kings 28. 7. ^ 

^ Apol. 13, Kosel edition, Kemp ten-Munich, 19 15, p. 109. j 

Occult Phenomena 215 

ruined by alcoholism, the two daughters, Katy and Maggy 
Fox, heard knocks as though someone were knocking at the 
door. They began to ask whether it was the soul of some dead 
person, and received answers. Despite the fact that it was 
immediately obvious that the answers were incorrect — they 
concerned a person who was supposed to have been murdered 
and buried in the kitchen and the police found no signs of any 
of this — the relatives of the girls had the kind of business sense 
that could exploit the credulity of persons who attended the 
ensuing seances. 

Certain men of science immediately declared that the knocks 
were made by the girls themselves, who actually confessed that 
they were the victims of the guile of their relatives ; nevertheless 
the epidemic spread, and the "spirits" began to knock and 
manifest themselves everywhere. The two girls died from 

In France a certain Leon-Hyppolite-Denizart-Rival (1869), 
later known as Allan Kardec, devoted himself to the spreading 
of spiritualism, the spirits having "revealed to him that, as 
Pontifex of this movement, he had a great task to fulfil in the 
founding of a new religion". Camille Flammarion and Victorian 
Sardon supported him in this work, the latter of whom 
"devoured books on philosophy, metaphysics and astronomy 
and directed the revelations of the spirits". Leymare actually 
started the photographing of spirits, though this was declared 
to be fraud by a French court ; others effected cures and brought 
messages from the dead, meeting the wishes of their patrons in 
whatever way these might desire {Mundus vult decipi) . 

This was the course things had taken since Mesmer and 
Swedenborg in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth 
century a regular epidemic of table-turning spread from 
America to England, and so to Europe, particularly to the 
Protestant countries. The American Andrew Jackson Davis 
(1826-19 10) claimed to have seen in a cemetery the astral body 
of a dead person which was able to pass through the wood of 
the coffin, but not the iron door of the vault. It was thus held 
to be established that the astral body was something very 
insubstantial but still material. Allan Kardec assumed the 
existence of reincarnation, and thus encountered the opposition 

2 1 6 Occult Phenomena 

of the Catholic Church, while Davis particularly combated the 
doctrines of original sin, redemption and eternal damnation. 

It is not difficult to understand the enormous spread of 
spiritualism ; it was a counter-movement to the mechanization 
of life and to the tendency to deny the reality of human per- 
sonality ; and it also satisfied the desire to learn something about 
departed friends in the unknown world beyond. Spiritualism 
was also a natural result of the rejection of Christianity ; faith 
in the Christian revelation would have given a knowledge of 
the secrets which men were trying to probe, though it would 
not have furnished the experimental proof which in an age of 
technics people are anxious to secure. So it was through the 
mediums that the dead began to speak, to knock and to write, 
and they did this so convincingly that even scientific men like 
Wallace, Crookes and Zollner became weak and "believed" — 
until Hartmann, Janet and Myers drew attention to the sub- 
conscious. After that spiritualism lost more and more ground, 
particularly when the revelations from the beyond proved so 
very disappointing. 

Our own attitude towards spiritualism must needs be different 
from that of its other opponents — the animists, for instance — 
and diflferent also from that of modern science, for even when that 
science is not wholly materialist, it tends to reject spiritualism, 
either because it does not believe in the soul at all, or because 
it believes in a soul that is half material and therefore quite 
incapable of co-operating with mediums. Alternatively it rejects 
spiritualism, because spiritualism rests on assumptions that are 
entirely unproven. 

As Catholics — and what is here written is written from the 
Catholic viewpoint — we reject spiritualism, not because it is 
physically impossible for the souls of the dead to perform feats 
of this kind — they are capable of that and of much more — but 
because it is not fitting that they should at a word of command 
be made to amuse us, simply in order to satisfy our curiosity or 
to serve as the object of scientific experiments like so many 
guinea-pigs to be vivisected. Souls are spiritual things, and thus 
physically far above human beings. They are for the most part 
filled with divine grace, and so carry the divine nature within 
themselves and are destined to enjoy the beatific vision; they 

Occult Phenomena 217 

are therefore "sons of God" and fellow-citizens of the angels 
and saints, whom one cannot easily visualize in the setting of 
a spiritualist seance. If they appear to man, they do so in a 
worthy form and for some high purpose on behalf of the kingdom 
of God upon earth and the salvation of souls. We do not 
therefore deny the possibility of their appearing as genuine 
ghosts, but refuse to believe that they would be mixed up with 
spiritualism unless it is proved that spiritualist practice attains 
that worthy form and is serving the rational purpose of which 
we have spoken. 1 

Another ground for our unbelief in this matter is the failure 
of spiritualist practice to establish genuine proof of identity with 
a deceased person, and we can but marvel that in the age of 
exact science people appear to remain so modest in their 
demands. We Catholics are not particularly concerned to prove 
that the dead do sometimes appear, yet that seems to be what 
chiefly interests such writers as Dr Emil Mattiesen, in his three- 
volume work Das Personliche Uberleben des Todes?- The same may 
be said of Camille Flammarion^ or Dr Robert Klimsch,4 who 
adduce a number of well-attested examples to prove their 
contention. We are convinced of the truth of this, and need no 
further persuasion. We are only too glad that people who do 
not believe in the existence of a soul or in an after-life should 
read such books as the ones referred to. Our chief concern, 
however, must be to enquire whether the occult phenomena 
which the mediums manifest at seances, and the " messages from 
the dead" in which those taking part so humbly believe, really 
emanate from the deceased persons concerned. It is precisely 
this that the writer denies, and he does so all the more readily 
because everything can be explained in terms of the spirit-soul. 

There have, it is true, been men of science in the past who 
have spoken of the "unknown powers of the soul", and who felt 
able to explain a number of the phenomena in natural terms, 
yet sooner or later these encountered facts and phenomena, 
which drove them back on to the spiritualist hypothesis. This 
was the case with the Russian savant Alexander Nikolaievich 

1 See Erkenntnis und Glaube, March, 1952. ^ Berlin-Leipzig, 1936. 
3 Rdtsel des Seelenlebens, Stuttgart, 1908. 
^ Leben die Toten?, Graz, 1937. 

2 1 8 Occult Phenomena 

Aksakow, who in his work Animism and Spiritualism ^ obstinately 
defends the spirit hypothesis against Edward von Hartmann's 
Der Spiritismus, despite the fact that he had elsewhere already 
spoken of the extraordinary powers of the soul. Similarly the 
astronomer Flammarion is at pains to recognize the extent of 
the psychic powers, but in the end we find him writing 2; "At 
the same time it seems to me that the spiritualist hypothesis has 
as much right to be accepted as those already referred to, since 
discussions thereof have failed to impugn its validity." Scientists 
like Du Prel, Lombroso and Zollner have also weakened. Frau 
Moser, who deals with this question in a most exhaustive manner 
and in an agreeably critical spirit, at least had the honesty to 
say that the best policy was to admit complete ignorance, 
since it was at present impossible to do more than set up theories 
that merely added to the confusion. "Hypotheses," she writes, 
"which merely cover a part of the field and only lead to the 
setting up of supplementary hypotheses, are things we can well 
do without." 3 She speaks much of the soul and even of the 
"omnipotence of the soul" but refuses to attribute to it a real 
spirituality, so that in the end she capitulates like the rest. 

Even Tischner says that there are cases which cannot be 
explained simply in terms of the subconscious,"* and quotes the 
following instance. 

A deceased person, Mrs Elisa M,, once made a com- 
munication in a seance to Hodgson through Mrs Piper that 
on the previous day a relative of hers had died, a fact which 
Hodgson had just read in the morning paper. She stated that 
she had been at that person's bedside when he died, that she 
had spoken with him and repeated what she had said, 
mentioning the fact that he had heard and recognized her. 
Hodgson passed this communication on to a friend, and this 
friend was quite spontaneously told a few days later by a 
relative, who had been present at the man's death, that the 
deceased had in his death agony said that he could see 
Mrs M. and hear her and that she was telling him such and 
such things. All this corresponded exactly with what Mrs 

1 Leipzig, 19 1 9, German translation by Dr Gr. Const. Wittig. 

2 Unbekannte Naturkrdfte, p. 370. 

3 Okkultismus . . . , p. 642. ■* Ergebnisse, p. 175. 

Occult Phenomena 219 

Piper had automatically written. Hodgson could have known 
nothing of all this. 

It is inferred from this that Mrs Elisa M. must actually have 
appeared, and this was held to accord with the spiritualist 
hypothesis. Yet the argument is unsound. Let the reader again 
be reminded of our thesis of the spirit soul, which can apprehend 
everything to which it directs its powers of understanding, 
whether these things be thoughts or some other kind of fact. 
When it is a question of the former, science speaks of telepathy, 
when of the latter, of clairvoyance. Why then should so 
excellent a medium as Mrs Piper have been unable to visualize 
the scene while in trance, the scene in which a dying man 
appeared to be speaking with a dead relative? (N.B. It is 
possible of course that the relative in question might really have 
appeared if this would have assisted the cause of salvation, but 
there are other explanations. It is possible that the dying man, 
in his last agony — i.e. when the soul was nearly free from the 
body — merely imagined that he was conversing with his pious 
relative.) Alternatively Mrs Piper may have read it in the 
memory of that relative who was present while the man was 
dying, and now related the affair as though Mrs Elisa M. had 
appeared to her also. There would be no necessity for us to 
assume that there must have been a "transmitter"; that is to 
say that the dead person or the relative in question directly 
transmitted what the medium Piper "saw". Similarly we need 
not postulate a "soul-journey" or a "world subject" or 
anything else of that kind. 

All the other difficulties raised by Frau Moser can be resolved 
in much the same fashion. Frau Moser seems particularly 
struck by the knowledge of languages which mediums appear to 
possess. The French scientist Richet recounts the following : 

A Parisian lady, Mme X, who had visions, practised 
automaticjwriting, and seems to have been endowed with 
seconcT sight, continued over a number of years to write 
whole pages of Greek, doing so in a state of trance or semi- 
trance this despite the fact that she had never learned the 
language. It all began with the appearance of a little man in 
a vision who called himself A. A. Renouard, and who turned 

220 Occult Phenomena 

out to be Richet's great-grandfather, a learned bibliophile 
but not a Hellenist. Mme X immediately, but quite 
erroneously, connected the idea of Greek with this vision. In 
her desire to learn that language, she acquired two little 
books which she later showed to Richet without any particular 
hesitation. These books seem to have been put aside, and the 
lady took no further interest in them. About this time Richet 
took part in a seance, at which Myers was present, and in the 
course of which Mme X for the first time wrote two simple 
Greek sentences. Others followed, mostly signed A.A.R. In 
the summer of 1900 a long complicated sentence was at last 
written which even Myers could not understand, l 

How did the medium Mme X acquire this knowledge ? It was 
easy to jump to the conclusion that she had got it from the 
little man who had appeared to her out of the next world . Yet 
after some searching, a French-Greek dictionary by Byzantios 
was found which contained these sentences, and from which 
Mme X — who had, after all, once occupied herself with 
Greek — read these same sentences with great difficulty by 

That mediums can achieve such "Book Test" feats has been 
experimentally demonstrated. The medium is given an 
instruction to pick out mentally a certain book in a bookcase, 
in a distant room, and to turn to such-and-such a page and say 
what is contained thereon. If this can be done, why should not 
Mme X have been able to read these sentences without the 
mediation of a dead person ? In such a case there can be no 
question of the intelhgent use of a foreign language. Frau Moser 
herself states that "there is not and cannot be such a thing as 
really speaking a foreign tongue which one has not learned" 
(p. 333). Should such a thing occur, then this would indeed be 
proof that preternatural intelligence was at work, as will later 
be explained. 

Similarly the fact that a person enters into the way of life, 
character and most intimate experiences of one who is dead does 
not prove that the deceased person has actually appeared, it 
merely shows that a good medium can "see" and "read" (one 
usually speaks of "tapping") the thoughts and memories in 
1 Moser, Okkultismus, p. 379. 

Occult Phenomena 221 

the subconscious of those attending the seance, and even of 
others, and can give pubHc expression to them, whether in 
writing or by the spoken word, or in some other way. That the 
mediums themselves beHeve that a spirit is speaking through 
them has no bearing on the question, for the mediums do not 
know in their upper consciousness what powers or knowledge 
they possess in the subconscious. Artists often stand speechless 
before their own creations, as did Richard Wagner before his 
Tristan, being quite unable to understand how he had written 
such a thing. The best proof, however, that no soul from the 
next world has ever appeared to spiritualists is that nothing new 
about that next world has ever been revealed, and some kind 
of revelation might surely at one time or another have been 
expected. Moreover a medium can imitate the writing and 
characteristics of living persons quite as successfully as it does 
those of the dead. 

It may well be asked why mediums always associate their 
communications with some other person, and why, since these 
derive from their own subconscious, they do not treat them as 
coming from themselves. It has, however, already been said 
that the acts of cognition performed by the subconscious have 
a dreamlike quality and are often devoid of any real sense ; if 
they are to be worth serious attention, they need direction and 
some point around which the ideas they contain can be 
organized. This is what happens when some indisposition of the 
body influences our dreams and guides them in a certain 
direction; the same applies to hylomantic objects, to the 
suggestion practised by those taking part in a seance, to the 
personality of the hypnotist, and this is also the function which 
the idea of the dead person performs. All these things serve to 
direct the subconscious thoughts, or rather the subconscious 
knowledge, along a certain definite course. 

Here we find the answer to another question that is frequently 
asked, namely how the selection takes place between the 
different "radiations" that act upon the medium. Leaving 
aside the fact that we reject its supposed "radiations", the 
determining factor is again the guiding object or influence to 
which the medium is subject, though chance plays a large part 
in this, since the judgments are quite arbitrary and incalculable. 

222 Occult Phenomena 

That dead persons are quite superfluous for the delivery of 
these "messages" is shown by the story earHer related by Fr 
Castelein, and there are few examples that enable us to 
recognize so clearly the identity of the directing intelligence. 

But the same thing applies everywhere. It is not some dead 
person (nor is it the devil) who is the originator of the 
"revelations" at seances; indeed, a medium once actually bore 
witness to what really happens. When asked where his know- 
ledge was acquired, "Out of the silly thought-box of your own 
brains", was the answer: i.e. not from the dead. "We our- 
selves", it was stated openly to Flammarion, "are the more or 
less conscious authors of our productions", and this is true 
despite the fact that mediums are usually convinced that they 
have their knowledge from "spirits", or at any rate find it 
interesting to associate their revelations with the names of 
spirits. Actually, as we have seen, these names only serve 
as a kind of fixed point around which their dreaming 
can be organized for guidance and direction. Or are we 
really to believe that Asmodeus, Leviathan, Christ, Mary, 
Homer and Augustine make an appearance just to say "good 
morning" ? 

It used to be constantly stated that an entirely uneducated 
medium completed Charles Dickens's unfinished novel The 
Mystery of Edwin Drood, and was able to imitate the mode of 
thought, the style and even the spelling mistakes of that author. 
This, it is always said, could only happen if the spirit of Charles 
Dickens himself was dictating the thing word for word. Never- 
theless a fragment was found among Dickens's papers which 
proved that the author had planned the work entirely differ- 
ently. The medium's achievement was nothing more than a 
brilliant product of her trance and was similar to that of Mrs P. 
Curran in St Louis. Mrs Curran wrote hundreds of poems, 
parables, aphorisms, stories, long and short novels and dramas, 
which, she claimed, were dictated to her by the spirit of a 
certain Patience North, the daughter of a weaver in Dorset in 
the seventeenth century. These productions were remarkable 
for their knowledge of the people, the history and geography of 
the place, and constitute a striking achievement of the sub- 
conscious ; they typify the acts of knowledge made in dreams. 

Occult Phenomena 223 

under hypnosis and, for that matter, in artistic creation 

In cases like these, it is not beings from the beyond who 
provide the knowledge the medium displays, but simply the 
medium's own spirit which sees and reports the facts intuitively 
and by clairvoyance. In this connection I must again refer to 
the phenomena connected with Mrs Piper, 

who [Frau Moser tells us] had an incredible degree of positive 
knowledge concerning hundreds of dead persons, their 
acquaintances, relations and all the circumstances of their 
life, a knowledge the accuracy of which often came to be 
confirmed in the most roundabout way — on occasion even 
from other continents. This knowledge in the course of time 
assumed dimensions that made it seem miraculous on that 
ground alone, a miracle, among other things, of sheer 
memory, for there was never the slightest confusion; and 
even years afterwards when her visitors called unannounced. 
Invariably the same messages were received concerning 
things which sometimes lay as much as a century back in the 
past and of which the visitors were proved to know nothing, 
and could indeed have known nothing.! 

All that was at work here was the abnormal faculty of 
clairvoyance with which this worthy inoffensive middle-class 
woman had been endowed. 

So far therefore no phenomena have come to light which 
require the activities of spirits for their explanation. All can be 
explained by the subconscious faculties of the spirit-soul, 
though naturally those who do not recognize the existence of 
the latter must then confess their complete inability to furnish 
an explanation at all. 2 But the spirit-soul and its faculties of 
clairvoyance explain everything in a manner that is in no way 
forced. On that assumption we can understand how "tables 
teach us things which could not possibly be known and which 
surpass the limitations of human faculties ",3 for they are guided 
by subconscious faculties, with the result that lost objects (keys, 
rings) are found, criminals discovered and diseases diagnosed. 
What remains most noteworthy is that no knowledge has ever 

1 Moser, op. cit., p. 538. 2 Moser, op. cit., p. 642. 3 Moser, op. cit., p. 585. 

224 Occult Phenomena 

thus been vouchsafed which some Hving human being some- 
where did not possess. The spirits, for instance, have never told 
us the contents of a letter by a dead person, which no other 
person had ever read. Indeed the spirits of the dead have never 
told us anything, which shows that they have never intervened 
at all ; nor has any medium ever won any of the many prizes 
for genuine scientific achievement. 

(f) ghosts and hauntings 

Many people have racked their brains to find an explanation 
of the so-called spook phenomena or of the hauntings that occur 
in certain places. The phenomena are of course most varied and 
must be explained in varying ways. Sometimes mere hallucina- 
tion, often collective hallucination, is at the bottom of it, a 
hallucination which is almost infectious, so that all who hear 
about the phenomena profess to "see" them. I 

It would nevertheless be a mistake to attempt to explain 
everything in these terms, for often there can be no doubt as to 
-^ the reality of the phenomena, especially when they are also 
seen by animals, when horses start and snort, and dogs bark or 
run away terrified. There are certain houses which are definitely 
haunted, and there are spook phenomena which are tied to a 
certain person. These last fall into the same category as the 
physical phenomena associated with mediums; they are like 
dreams come alive, and therefore irrational and confused ; they 
cease when the person concerned has gone away, or when the 
subconscious of such a person has been influenced and dis- 
possessed of the dream-figures, as described above. 

It may now be asked how such dream-figures that have, so 
to speak, come alive, become so real that they can even be seen 
by animals. The general sense of our thesis here permits us to 
reply that we must concede to the spirit-soul the power, 
among others, of influencing matter ; modern nuclear science 
teaches us that matter can be converted into energy (loss of 
mass) and vice-versa. This is not a new creation of matter, but 
a transformation, the power to effect which even the strictest 
theology permiFs us to ascribe to creatures. Certain creatures 

Occult Phenomena 225 

therefore must be held to be endowed with this faculty, and a 
number of spook phenomena can thus be explained. 

These spook phenomena correspond to the apports and 
telekinetic phenomena of spiritualism. A passage from Fr 
Gastelein should be noted here (p. 201) : 

We must be even more careful [he writes] in assuming that 
a medium can produce phenomena of levitation, can move 
objects without touching them, Hft tables, influence scales 
from a distance, etc. It is true that serious men of science, who 
are anything but credulous, admit this, and we should have 
to admit, if these things are so, that a nerve-stream can at 
the command of the will produce certain effects at a distance. 
Such a thing would have to be most carefully observed and ^,.„. 
examined, but is not absolutely contrary to a rational k 

There is no need to fall back on this dubious nerve-stream 
which can allegedly produce effects at a distance, but for the 
existence of which we have no proof at all. We need go no 
further than the writer's "spiritual" explanation which 
ascribes certain rudiments of angelic powers to the soul, even 
when it is connected with the body, powers which it once 
possessed in full. It is really not difficult to explain the facts on 
that basis ; all the more so, since theology itself, with its teaching 
on pure spirits, on our first parents, and on mysticism old and 
new, has suggested it. 

In L., a village in Upper Austria, the following occurred 
during the war : a farmer had two sons, Alois and Joseph H., 
both of whom had been called up for military service. The 
latter had a considerable affection for the maid, Barbara H., 
and had gone back to the colours with a heavy heart after his 
leave in 1943, because he had a premonition that he would 
never return. 

The farmer himself was in prison because he was suspected 
of being a monarchist. He was released in November, and on 
his first night at home, all the doors suddenly stood open and 
the electric Ught suddenly went on. It was later ascertained that 
this was the exact hour in which the son Joseph fell on the 
Russian front. From that moment onward, spook phenomena 


226 Occult Phenomena 

began to take place in the house. The crockery began to move 
on the hearth and fell to the ground, but did not break, nor 
were the contents spilled. There were knocks on the walls so 
loud that they could be heard in the neighbouring house 
20 metres away. Brooms and other objects flew through the air, 
the cider-press fell over, though again nothing was broken, and 
so did the full chaff-cutter, without spilhng any of its contents. 

The parish priest of the place, W.P., to whom we owe this 
account, was called; he blessed the house with the canonical 
blessing, but was compelled himself to observe how brooms fell 
at his feet, while a sharp knife which was torn out of the maid 
Barbara's hand fell on the floor near him. In the night the maid 
herself saw the dead Joseph, who asked for her prayers, which 
she thereupon most conscientiously made. By advice of the 
Bishop, she was then put into another house, whereupon the 
phenomena ceased. When she afterwards returned, they began 
again afresh. 

In July, 1 944, the maid said that on the 1 5th August Joseph 
would enter heaven, and in point of fact from that date 
onwards everything was quiet, and the disturbances did not 

Here are all the elements that we expect to find when 
"spook" is attached to a particular personaHty. The maid was 
naturally anxious about the safety of her young man, and by 
second sight saw the hour of his death, and this knowledge 
expressed itself in a kind of dream symbolism by the turning on 
of the lights and the opening of the doors. All the spook 
phenomena were designed to arrest attention, as happens in 
cases of hysteria, and were indeed dreamlike, nonsensical 
expressions of the maid's subconscious. It was in a dream, too, 
that the maid saw her young man, who however told her 
nothing whatever about the war, but only something which out 
of her own sphere of knowledge she projected into him. When 
the priest went through the stable during the maid's absence, 
nothing happened. When she returned, she said to him, "Go 
through it again. You'll see." The priest did so, whereupon all 
the phenomena described above occurred again, and he saw 
how a little forage basket went rocking across the court, and 
how a broom was pushed along. She believed that the dead 

Occult Phenomena 227 

man had been released from purgatory through her prayers, 
and this behef was strong enough to capture her subconscious, 
so that nothing occurred after the 1 5th August. 

People have hit on the idea of hypnotizing persons who are 
associated with spook phenomena and of suggesting to them, 
while they are under hypnosis, that the spook should cease, 
whereupon it actually does cease. 1 

The most confused and also the most intensive of all these 
somnambulist activities was that of the "Seer of Prevorst" 
(Fredericke Wanner, whose married name was Hauffe 1801- 
1829). ^^^ story was set down by the amiable doctor and poet 
Justinus Kerner (i 786-1 862), Strong natural aptitudes were in 
this case heightened by magnetic treatment, so that an 
unusually high level of achievement was attained. "Somnambu- 
lism", it has been written, "was almost her permanent state, 
so that even in her waking hours she was never truly awake in 
the full sense of the word" (Du Prel). The magical and, as we 
should today say, superstitious signs and amulets which she 
employed seem, as with true magicians, to have served only to 
heighten the power of suggestion used for the purposes of 
healing, as in the healing of the mentally infirm Countess von 
Maldeghem. The same seems to have been intended of her sun 
circle in relation to her life circle, as also of her intercourse with 
the spirit world. (It is by no means impossible that people in a 
somnambulist state, that is to say in a state when the spirit-soul 
is operating, really "see" spirits which are not merely the 
creations of their brain, since animals also react to them in a 
peculiar manner by sweating and snorting, all the more so if 
such a vision has a serious purpose, namely that of bringing 
about the redemption of the person concerned. 

It is in connection with this general set of ideas that we should 
here refer to J. I. Kant's Dreams of a Ghost-seer elucidated by the 
Dreams of Metaphysics, Friederich Schiller's Der Geisterseher and 
Arthur Schopenhauer's Essay on Ghost-seeing and Matters 
Connected Therewith, ghost stories in which the idea already 
vaguely operates that the human soul is the real cause. 

It is true enough that there is still a residual category to 
explain — that of spook phenomena attached to a particular 
1 See Moser, op. cit„ p. 845. 

228 Occult Phenomena 

place, where it is impossible to establish any connection with 
any living individual. In such cases as these, which are very 
rare, I have no hesitation in assuming, that the apparition is 
really that of a departed soul, particularly when a serious 
purpose may be inferred, when for instance the soul is expiating 
some guilt, or has come to give warning or comfort, or to ask 
for our prayers — things which God might well permit. ■ 

After all, the writer did not reject the possibility of a genuine 
intervention of souls in occult phenomena, such as those of 
spiritualism, or deny that the dead might be capable of pro- 
ducing the manifestations in question. He merely affirmed that 
it was not fitting that they should do so, and that there was a 
natural explanation for all these things. Of course the notion 
that such phenomena may actually be caused by a departed 
soul will alienate those who reject the whole idea of a survival 
after death or the existence of the soul. With these last the 
writer does not propose to enter into further controversy. His 
philosophy of life is already decided. 

There was a well-authenticated story of the reappearance of 
a dead person in the life of St John Bosco. The latter had agreed 
with his friend and fellow student ComoUo that whichever of 
the two died first was to give the other some indication con- 
cerning the state of his own soul. Comollo died on 2nd April, 
1839, ^^^ -Don Bosco now waited for some message. In the 
night of the 3rd-4th April (after the funeral) Don Bosco sat 
sleepless on his bed in a room containing twenty other , 
theological students. 

Midnight struck and I then heard a dull rolling sound { 
from the end of the passage, which grew ever more clear, 
loud and deep, the nearer it came. It sounded as though a ') 
heavy dray were being drawn by many horses, like a railway 
train, almost like the discharge of a cannon. . . . While the 
noise came nearer the dormitory, the walls, ceiling and floor 
of the passage re-echoed and trembled behind it. . . . The 
students in the dormitory awoke, but none of them spoke. . . . 
Then the door opened violently of its own accord without any- 
body seeing anything except a dim light of changing colour 
that seemed to control the sound. . . . Then a voice was 

Occult Phenomena 229 

clearly heard, "Bosco, Bosco, Bosco, I am saved." . . . The 
seminarists leapt out of bed and fled without knowing where 
to go. Some gathered in a corner of the dormitory and sought 
to inspire each other with courage, others crowded around the 
prefect, Don Giuseppe Fiorito di Rivolo; thus they passed 
the night and waited anxiously for the coming of day. All 
had heard the noise and some of them the voice without 
gathering the meaning of the words. I sat upon my bed and 
told my comrades that they had no cause for alarm. I had 
clearly understood the words; they were "I am saved." 
Some had also understood them as clearly as I had done, and 
for a long time afterwards there was no other subject of 
conversation in the seminary.! 

So ends Don Bosco's account. 

Another case in which we have no ground for doubting the 
actual appearance of the deceased is the case related in The 
Proceedings for Psychical Research, V, 36 (1927), pp. 517 ff., under 
the title "The case of the Will of James Chaffin". James L. 
Chaffin was a North Carolina farmer, who had four sons. He 
made a will in 1905 in which he made his third son, Marshall, 
sole heir to all his property. In 19 19 he wrote with his own 
hand another will, according to which he left his property to 
all four children. He hid the document in an old family Bible, 
folding into a kind of pocket the pages containing the 27th 
chapter of Genesis (Jacob replaces his brother Esau) . He also 
sewed in a note into the inner part of an overcoat of his with 
the words: "Read the 27th chapter of Genesis in father's old 

The farmer died in 1921 and the property passed to the 
third son, as the 1905 will, which there were no grounds for 
challenging, had provided. In 1925, however, the second son, 
James Pinkney Chaffin, began to dream of his father. The latter 
appeared to him several times, and on the last occasion was 
wearing the overcoat in question. In that particular dream the 
father said: "You will find my will in the pocket of my over- 
coat." On the next day a search was made for the coat, which 

1 See Joh. B. Lemoyne, Der ehrwilrdige Diener Gottes Don Johannes Bosco, 
I, Munich, 1927, pp. 226-230; Dr A. Ludwig, " Postmortales Erfiillen 
eines Versprechens ", in ^eitschrift fur Parapsychologie, 1931, p. 336. 

230 Occult Phenomena 

had already been appropriated by another brother named John, 
and in the Hning, which had been sewn together again, the 
vital piece of paper was discovered. Again, in the presence of 
witnesses, the Bible was duly found, in the drawer of a writing- 
desk in a room which lay somewhat apart. It was already in 
such a decayed state that when they took it out it fell into three 
pieces. In one of these parts, which was picked up by a 
neighbour, the will was discovered. 

So that there should be no calling in question of the testator's 
intention, the property was taken over by all the brothers 
together. What had happened was that a father, who perhaps 
had had too much pressure put on him by one of the children, 
made a will in the latter's favour and had then changed his 
decision. He had, however, wanted to avoid trouble, and so had 
hidden the will in the manner described in the hope that it 
would soon be found. When the finding of the will was delayed, 
his soul began to feel the need of hastening that finding, which 
gives us a rational ground for the manifestation concerned. 

It is possible that, actuated by such reasons as these, souls 
really do appear from the next world and create visible effects 
to identify themselves, as Bruno Grabinski tells us in his book 
Spuk und Geistergeschichten Oder Was Sonst? (1920, 4th edition, 
1952). Nevertheless, as Professor Feldmannl makes plain, such 
accounts should always be accepted with caution, though there 
are always people with an insatiable appetite for strange tales, 
and superstitious people who will read of such things with 

(g) hylomancy (psyghometry) 

As we have seen, the subconscious is active according to the I 
degree that the upper consciousness is put out of action. 
Translated into the terms of theology, this means that the 
spirit-soul of man, which since the Fall leads only a troubled 
life, can assert itself only by loosening its connection with the 
body, that is to say by becoming to a certain extent body-free. 
It becomes wholly free of the body in death, but partially 
attains that condition in sleep, which is the brother of death. 
Yet what we see in this state of semi-freedom from the body is 

^ Okkiilte Philosophie, p, 37. 

Occult Phenomena 231 

a mad confusion of dreams, which is generally devoid of any 
sense whatever. Dreams receive some kind of meaning, as we 
have seen, when someone suggestively directs them. 

Something similar to what occurs in natural sleep takes 
place in the various states of artificial sleep, which are some- 
how directed by telepathy and rapport, and can thus in 
certain circumstances be made to serve man. One particular 
form of such direction is to be found in hylomancy, a thing for 
which there are several other names, which vary according to 
the conceptions and phrase predilections of the person con- 
cerned. The American physiologist and anthropologist Professor 
J. R. Buchanan, who was the first to examine the phenomena 
concerned, called it "psychometry", a name that many people 
reject, though it has to some extent established a place for itself. 
Others used names such as "pragmatic cryptaesthesia " 
(Richel), "paramnesia" (Oesterreich), "relative retroscopy" 
(Tartaruga), " retrospective metaesthesia " (Fischer), "clairvoy- 
ance into the past", etc. The writer believes that we should 
stick to the term hylomancy, by which he understands the 
faculty of obtaining extraordinary knowledge by touching a 
lifeless object, and in this process the lifeless object has no 
other function than to direct the subconscious. 

This implies a rejection of the conception of Dr G. 
Pagenstecher, who after years of research 1 found the solution 
of the riddle in the so-called "impregnation theory". The 
essence of this theory is that the lifeless objects in question have 
been artificially influenced and then radiate impressions of 
light, sound and smell on to the person in trance. Nevertheless it 
was proved that the success of his experiments was due to 
telepathy, for the knowledge possessed by the medium never 
went any further than that possessed by those present, and the 
idea that "the material thought-images . . . were impressed on 
some part of the brain, perhaps as some kind of micro- 
photographic print betrays a crass materialism compared with 
which Biichner is a positive innocent".^ 

Yet another explanation is that of the American medium 

1 Geheimnisse der Psychometrie oder Hellsehen in die Vergangenheit, Gegenwart 
und Z^kunft, Leipzig, 1928. 

2 Moser, Okkultismns, p, 537. 

232 Occult Phenomena 

Mrs Piper, who with the aid of a hylomantic object was able to 
tell a number of details that were known to nobody concerning 
the life of a departed person — a fact that certainly justifies us 
in inferring abnormal powers. It seems certain, however, that 
she derived many things from the subconscious of those present, 
and even from that of absent persons, while we have no means of 
testing the validity of the rest. Mrs Piper herself ascribed every- 
thing to the spirits, the spirit-controls, of which she had many. 
In particular her spirit "Dr Phinuit" jabbered quite in- 
ordinately, but there was never anything in the way of a real 

People rack their brains as to the precise significance of the 
hylomantic object. Yet it has already been explained. It merely 
serves to establish the rapport and acts as a guide, so that not 
only telepathy, but also clairvoyance ("telaesthesia"), may 
become possible. A few examples will illustrate this. 

There is much excellent evidence of such psychometric 
phenomena where hypnotized persons and mediums have been 
able to give information concerning certain objects with which 
they manage to establish some kind of connection. 

A medium is given a medal that has been awarded to a 
soldier for bravery. The medium then gives an exact description 
of the battles in which the medal was won. When given another 
medal, which has not as yet been awarded to anybody at all, 
the medium gives an exact description of the textile mill in 
which the ribbon had been woven. 

Fr Gerhard Binnendyk, C.SS.R., sent his family in Amster- 
dam an Onca tooth which he had obtained in Minas Geraes 
and had carried about with him on many travels. A medium in 
Holland, who did not know the good father at all, was able to 
describe his appearance and his experiences on his pastoral 
journeys (Lacroix, p. 142). 

Raupert tells that a medium was able to give an account of 
his (Raupert's) whole life by merely holding an envelope with 
Raupert's address on it. 

A priest in Czechoslovakia was able to diagnose diseases if he 
received the outline of a patient's hand traced on a piece of 

Another was able to indicate water and minernal deposits if 

Occult Phenomena 233 

furnished only with a sketch map of the district, or when 
passing over it in a balloon. 

The examples related by Tischner^ seem mostly to depend 
on telepathy, for there was always somebody other than the 
medium possessed of the knowledge which the latter revealed. 
One can really only recognize as genuine examples of hylo- 
mancy those where the facts were not known to any other person. 

In March, 19 14, an old man aged eighty-four was found to 
be missing from Chateau Givry (Dep. Cher, in France), and 
intensive search failed to find him. The steward of the estate 
sent a scarf out of the old man's cupboard to the scientist Osty, 
in the hope that the latter would be able to find the missing 
man by means of a medium. The medium in question, Mme 
Moret, gave such full information about the old man (who 
actually was dead), and about the place where his corpse was 
to be found, that the search succeeded by reason of her help. 
Here are all the factors that go to make up a genuine case of 
hylomancy. The impregnation theory clearly breaks down, for 
the scarf was hanging in the cupboard and the dead man was 
in a distant wood; neither does telepathy or hypermnesia 
provide an explanation, since nobody knew of the place where 
death had overtaken the old man. Here we are obviously 
concerned with clairvoyance guided by a hylomantic object. 

In another case the medium Emma was able to disclose what 
had happened to a payment made to a bank, when the payment 
had gone astray. All she asked for was "the papers", i.e. the 
letter in which the notes had been sent. She then put herself 
into a trance and saw how through negligence the notes had 
been put aside with a lot of other papers. After a search the 
notes were found among some papers that had not been used 
for years, and would perhaps have remained unnoticed for 
years to come. The notes were found wrapped up and in a 
certain room exactly as the medium had described. 

(h) hypnosis 

There are several stages in the process of setting our bodily 
senses in the background. They range from natural sleep 

1 Ergebnisse, pp. 175 ff. 

234 Occult Phenomena 

right up to the morbid twilight states and artificial trance ; in 
all of these the soul becomes partly free of the body and can 
do things which would be impossible in the normal state of 
consciousness. There is, however, always one difficulty — the 
phenomena are so arbitrary, so incalculable and so confused, 
that it is necessary for them to be purposively directed by some 
dominant idea or some guide. In hylomancy we saw how the 
use of some lifeless object served to guide the powers of know- 
ledge. The really perfect form of such guidance of the uncon- 
scious and subconscious powers, however, is only to be found 
in hypnosis, in which the will of the hypnotist, which moves 
in the reaches of the upper consciousness, appears as authorita- 
tive for the hypnotized person. The essence of hypnotism is that 
it is an artificially induced sleep brought about by means of 
suggestion by another person. This suggestion can be strength- 
ened by magnetic stroking (it is also possible by ever-deepening 
hypnosis to pile one hypnotic state on top of the other, so to 
speak, each state having its own memory, though the waking 
state is remembered in all). The hypnotized person then is en 
rapport with the hypnotist, and in this condition exactly fulfils 
his will. 

The first thing to note about hypnosis, then, is that it induces 
the kind of sleep which makes subconscious spiritual activities 
possible, and that this state is induced artificially by means of 
suggestion. To make such suggestion possible, the senses are 
acted on, as by fixing the attention on some bright object, by 
soporific music, by incense or by inducing that pleasant feeling 
that arises by the reordering of those small quantities of 
electricity that are to be found on the surface of the body ; that 
is to say, by the stroking that induces animal magnetism and so 
influences the nerves — much as blowing on the subject helps to 
wake him up. Animal magnetism is thus not something 
essentially different from hypnotism, but one of the practices 
that help in the suggesting of sleep. The most important element, 
however, is the rapport by means of which the subject remains 
in touch with the outer world and is guided both physically 
and mentally. It is precisely this that is so mystifying to the 
materialist enquirer. "Hypnosis", says Freud, "is, so to speak, 
a mystical expedient. Its mechanism is inexplicable to me, and 

Occult Phenomena 235 

I can understand as little as others why one person should be a 
good hypnotic subject while another cannot be hypnotized at 
all." If we recollect what was said above about the suggestibility 
of pure spirits, we will see that this matter of the rapport falls 
in with the same set of ideas. 

Being thus in contact with his subject, the hypnotist is able 
to release the powers of that subject's spirit-soul. Where it is a 
case of simple suggestion, no failing of sensory perception can 
be observed, though the attention is already directed in a 
particular way, but it is undeniable that people are more 
amenable to suggestion, as Coueism clearly shows, when the 
sensorium begins to grow dim and the soul thus becomes free 
to receive impressions from without. In this condition it can also 
establish direct contact with the soul of another, receive that 
other's thoughts and combine them with the experiences that 
lie dormant in the subconscious. Proceeding from there, it can 
excite the actions of the body and influence it to an extra- 
ordinary degree. The body then performs involuntary motions, 
and experiences irresistible Hkes and dislikes, even in its 
vegetative Hfe, which normally does not stand under the 
direction of the will. 

In hypnosis all this is intensified, the sensorium disappears 
completely, the mental connection with the hypnotist becomes 
perfect. Insane persons resist such connection, but nervous and 
hysterical people enter quite readily into it; in the main all 
persons are capable of being hypnotized, though they generally 
display some resistance to the first attempt; once they have 
been hypnotized, however, they lose this power of resistance. 
On this many moralists base their condemnation of hypnotism, 
in so far as by reason of it men lose their freedom of the will for 
ever. This is so great a good that men have no right to part with 
it, particularly since, once lost, it can never be wholly recovered. 
Hypnotism moreover is harmful to health, deprives man of the 
use of his reason, and subjects his will to that of another who 
may misuse his power by suggesting sinful and criminal modes 
of conduct, for although it is well estabHshed that a hypnotized 
person will not commit acts that are entirely contrary to his 
moral nature, nevertheless even this form of resistance can be 
broken down under repeated hypnotism. 

236 Occult Phenomena 

This being the case, hypnotism can hardly be justified except 
with strong reservations, though most morahsts seem to take a 
fairly liberal view of the matter. 

This much then is clear. In hypnosis a cutting out of the 
senses takes place and there is direct intercourse between two 
spirits, of whom the one influences the other, but through 
suggestion and not noopneustically. 

If we are to evaluate hypnotism correctly, we must have a 
thorough acquaintance with its phenomena, which have been 
observed for a considerable time and are well attested. All seem 
to argue the activities of a spirit, and some say that this spirit 
is the devil. Yet that spirit is not the devil, but the human soul 
in a state of partial freedom from the body. We can, however, 
infer from what the human soul achieves on these occasions, 
how great were the powers of the first human beings and how 
vast were the consequences of sin. That thought is bound to 
strike us when we observe the astonishing things that the poor 
remnants of that endowment can achieve. 

Let us then proceed to a brief examination of the character- 
istics of the hypnotic state of the senses. 

(i) Activities of the Senses 

In our normal state, the senses receive material impressions, 
send them to the brain, where through the activities of the soul 
these sense perceptions are released. In hypnotism the procedure 
is the opposite; the impressions and perceptions occur as the 
hypnotist orders the soul to receive them, and as the latter in 
its turn orders them from the senses. If the soul orders anaesthesia 
to take place, the senses receive no impressions at all, even 
when they are duly excited. The skin may be slashed, the nose 
bored through, noises may be made, and the subject given 
ammonia to smell, even surgical operations may be performed 
without the hypnotized person feeling anything. If on the other 
hand the hypnotist, and through him the soul, orders hyper- 
aesthesia, then the hypnotized person can see things a long way 
off, can see through opaque objects, can see things with the 
naked eye that normally can only be seen under a microscope,! 
can pick out the gloves of a particular person by their smell 

1 Moser, Okkultismus, p. 219. 

Occult Phenomena 237 

from among thousands of others, and can do many other things 
that "seem to remove all Hmit from its capacities" (Baerwald). 
Sense perceptions under hypnotism may be changed and 
become illusory; the subject eats onions and takes them for 
apples and vice versa, and in the latter case tears appear in the 
subject's eyes. The subject may find that a rose has a nasty 
smell and delight in the delicate aroma of things that actually 
have a nasty odour. He or she may also become blind — com- 
pletely so, or on one side only, and everything can in a moment 
be changed into its opposite. Innumerable experiments have 
been made which clearly prove that it is the soul which, under 
the hypnotist's influence, gives its commands to the body, while 
the body makes the desired perceptions, even though they 
correspond to no reality whatever. 

(ii) The Motor Nerves 

The power of the purely spiritual will is clearly shown when 
a person is laid across two chairs in such a manner that only 
the head and the heels are supported. Normally nobody can 
remain in that position, but under hypnosis a person will 
remain in it for as long as may be desired, even when heavy 
weights are laid on the body.^ We see here the force of purely 
spiritual power which is capable of moving the largest bodies 
without any difficulty. It is also the motor nerves which are set 
unconsciously in motion to produce raps (though the cause of 
raps is often quite a different one) or to play pianos, to walk 
or pass food through the bowels — even blood can be caused to 
leave the veins in this manner, as will be shown below. 

(iii) The Vegetative Life 

We have no direct influence on our vegetative life, nor can 
we consciously control our digestion, an inability which many 
of us have cause to regret; everything here proceeds auto- 
matically. Nevertheless in hypnosis the case is different, for in 
that state it is possible to lengthen the pulse or the breathing, 
to accelerate the digestion, to regulate the flow of the blood, 
so that hyperaemia appears at some point on the skin which 
then becomes red and begins to blister. Contrariwise, the hand 
may become cold when the appropriate suggestion is made. 
1 Cf. Schneider, Das andere Leben, p. 114. 

238 Occult Phenomena 

Thus pulse and heart, body temperature and bowel 
activity, can all be influenced in a most far-reaching manner 
by suggestion, the secretion of saliva and of the breast gland 
can be regulated both quantitatively and even qualitatively, 
the composition of the gastric juices may be changed so that 
they exactly suit various types of food suggested, such as 
milk, bread, meat, etc., while a reddening may be produced 
and strictly controlled over unlimited portions of the skin, 
the whole process often taking no more than a few minutes. 
Equally indisputable is the influence that can be exercised on 
bleeding, and in much the same way the physiological eflfects 
of such drugs as adrenalin, atropin and pilokarpine can 
be counteracted by counter-suggestion under hypnosis. 1 

"Blood-speaking" can cure bleeding. The Russian peasant 
Rasputin, called "The Holy Devil" by Filop Miller, was 
summoned to do what he could for the son of the Tsar Nicholas 
II, and asked to still his blood, for the Tsarevitch suffered from 
uncontrollable bleeding. Rasputin was always successful. 

It is, however, inaccurate to place the stigmata of the saints 
in this category, as Frau Moser does, since such persons did 
not receive the stigmata under hypnosis, nor did they, for that 
matter, desire them. Moreover genuine stigmata remain 
permanently and may even involve the formation of new 
structures, as, for instance, the nails in the case of St Francis 
of Assisi. 

(iv) The Power of Imagination 

It is plain that the basis of all these illusions of the senses is 
the imagination, which is activated by the various ideas. The 
subject experiences the sensation of heat or cold, has a bad or 
a pleasant taste in his or her mouth according as such tastes are 
suggested. Imagination also sharpens the memory on which 
all that is seen and heard is impressed. A soldier writes some- 
thing on a piece of paper under hypnosis. After a time the 
paper is taken away from him and an unwritten sheet is 
substituted for it. The soldier does not notice this, but neverthe- 
less reads out all he had written on the original sheet, even 
correcting the mistakes he had made. It is not the eyes that 

1 Moser, op. cit., p. 211. 

Occult Phenomena 239 

read in this case, but the spirit, the soul in a state of semi- 
freedom. When the subject wakes up, all memory of what has 
been done by him or her is utterly lost (amnesia), for that 
extraordinary power has only been at work in the subconscious, 
and the normal consciousness has known nothing of it. In the 
hypnotic state the subject can of course display an extraordinary 
memory and great mental powers (hypermnesia), giving 
evidence of knowledge not possessed in the waking state at all. 

(v) Hallucination 

When we spoke of the illusions of sense we mentioned 
hallucination, that is to say, perceptions that are false in so far 
as there is no corresponding sense impression from an external 
object. In hallucination the senses appear, as has been said, to 
perceive something that is not there at all, whereas the term 
illusion is applied to the perception of a real object that has 
been misinterpreted. We suffer from such hallucinations when 
we hear voices that do not actually exist. This principally 
occurs during illness or in sleep. Above all, however, hallucina- 
tions occur under hypnosis as has already been made plain. 
Apart from those experiments which are little more than games, 
such as making the subject take red for white, see big as little 
and distant things as close at hand, making the subject hear 
birds singing when actually bells are ringing, mistake salt for 
sugar, ammonia for the smell of roses and water for champagne 
(actual drunkenness ensuing from the supposed champagne), 
etc., etc. — apart from such playful experiments as these, there 
are a number of others that can be made. The subject can for 
instance be persuaded by suggestion that he or she is an entirely 
different person. This does not mean that the sense of sub- 
stantial identity of the ego is lost but merely that the accidents 
of its behaviour are forgotten. It may for instance be suggested 
that the subject is a girl, in which case that subject will lower 
the head and bring out a mirror ; if it is suggested that the 
subject is a general, that subject will give military orders; if 
the suggestion is that the subject is a priest, eyes are raised to 
heaven and the motions of reading the office are performed ; 
and the same subject will begin to go about on all fours, if the 
suggestion is made that it is a little dog. 

240 Occult Phenomena ^ 

Nor does this repriesent the hmit of the power of hallucination. 
The hypnotist can suggest the most extraordinary and even 
dangerous hnes of conduct, which are then carried out, but 
without any difficulty and without any show of resistance. 
When the suggestion is made that the subject should steal, 
poison a rival or shoot somebody (with a pistol that the subject 
erroneously believes to be loaded), then the command is 
automatically obeyed — often with a great deal of premeditation, 
note being taken of all the circumstances and a fictitious alibi 
invented. Admittedly investigators have not quite made up 
their minds whether the hypnotized persons really may be said 
to commit these crimes, or whether in actual fact they know 
perfectly well that the crimes they are expected to commit are 
nothing more than "laboratory crimes". 

There is really only one thing of which we can be certain ; it 
is that, as we have already seen, people of good character resist 
criminal suggestions. It was suggested, for instance, to a certain 
person that he should put sugar into a friend's cup, after having 
previously been told that the sugar was poison. Then the same 
person was ordered to steal a watch. The person carried out the 
first instruction but not the second, saying, when questioned, 
that there was no harm in putting sugar into somebody's cup, 
even if it was said to be poison, but that it was a crime to steal. 

It would appear that even under hypnosis a residue of free 
will and morality remains, or, to put the matter psychologically, 
the influence of law and morality, together with the awareness 
of the will of God, are stronger for the soul, even in its state of 
extreme suggestibility, than the suggestion of a hypnotist. 

But the power of hallucination goes yet further in post- 
hypnotic or retroactive suggestions. The former are commands 
which are given under hypnosis but are carried out in the 
waking state. It was suggested to an old sergeant that in three 
months' time he would find the President of the Republic in the 
doctor's house and that the President would give him a medal. 
After exactly three months the old man appeared at the doctor's 
house and bowed to one side, although nobody was actually 
there at all, uttering the words : "Thank you, your Excellency." 

In retroactive hallucination, it is suggested to a person that 
they have seen or done this, that or the other. After waking, the 

Occult Phenomena 241 

subject quite honestly declares this to be the case, although the 
facts are quite different. Again it is the soul to which these 
suggestions have been made and which now dictates conscious 
acts out of the subconscious. 

(vi) Healing 

The only real benefits brought about by hypnotism are 
perhaps the cures that can be effected by it. Apart from 
anaesthesia in surgical operations, hypnotism used therapeutic- 
ally can also cause the nerves and veins to obey. Coue built up 
his system on this, as we have seen, and we may illustrate the 
fact by a few examples. 

A girl of twelve who Hmped because of a diseased knee was 
hypnotized, the suggestion being made under hypnosis that 
she could walk normally. When she woke up she was cured. 
For the most part it is hysterical contractions that are healed 
under hypnosis. A smith had injured a muscle while bending 
iron ; he was now lame and could hardly sleep because of the 
pain. He was twice hypnotized and the pains disappeared. 

Under hypnosis sick people can see inside their own bodies, 
can declare the position of a foreign body, which can then be 
removed 1 ; also the nature of the necessary medicines can be 
discerned. One is strongly reminded of those people among 
the ancients who could diagnose and find the cure for illnesses 
in dreams. Thus, within certain narrow limits, "medical 
occultism", if the term is rightly understood, must be recognized 
as having a certain vaUdity. There are indeed great possibilities 
here for mankind, if the hypnosis can be made deep enough 
for correct impressions to be obtained under it. It is, however, 
precisely here that there is some insufficiency, so that for the 
present people prefer to rely on the medical science of the 
conscious mind. 

That the soul has a great influence upon the body is proved 
by many experiments. Tarchanoff knew a student who could 
deliberately slow down his heart beats or, if required, speed 
them up, or enlarge the pupils of the eyes. One of Schleich's 
patients could raise the temperature of her body to 42 degrees 
centigrade ; another could put himself into a state resembling 

1 See Moser, op. cit., p. 596. 

242 Occult Phenomena 

that of death and remain in it for hours at a time. His body 
would become ice-cold, his face pointed and grey, the eyes 
glassy, the heart would stand still and there would be no sign 
of pulse or respiration. From this state he could arouse himself 
at will. After such experiences as these, one can well give 
credence to the reports that Yogis let themselves be buried for 
six weeks and then rise again from their graves.! 

Into this category we must also put such things as the 
charming of warts, the effect upon a child of some disturbing 
sight experienced by the mother during pregnancy, etc., etc. — 
it is always the power of the soul over the body, a power that is 
in a special degree released in hypnosis. 

(vii) Spiritual Phenomena 

The spiritual phenomena may all be described in terms of 
telepathy and clairvoyance, which are effective in hypnosis in 
proportion to the depth or otherwise of the hypnotic state, and 
to the strength of the rapport between hypnotist and subject. 

We are here not concerned with "Cumberlandism" or 
"muscle-reading" ; that is to say, with the reading of thoughts 
by means of the httle involuntary muscle movements which 
accompany every thought according to the ideomotor law. 
These are on occasion even intelligible to animals, as was 
proved by Krall^ with his horse Zarif, which could even solve 
mathematical problems. The horse of course only gave the 
answers (by tapping its foot) when these were known to some 
person present and it noticed that person's involuntary 
muscular movements when the correct number of taps had been 
made — whereupon it stopped tapping. This is something 
perfectly natural, and therefore need not be dwelt on any 
further here. Here we are dealing with the genuine reading of ! 
thoughts, and with purely spiritual influences exerted at a 

One phenomenon that has been extremely puzzling to 
investigators is the hypnotized person's ability to measure time, 
and his awareness of time, although this seems explicable enough 
on our own thesis as a natural consequence of the spiritual state 

1 Cf. Wiesinger, Nach Manilla^ pp. 92 flf. 

2 Zeitschrift fiir Parapsychologie, 1926. 

Occult Phenomena 243 

into which the subject is put by this pecuUar kind of sleep. 
There are many people who can wake at a desired time out of 
natural sleep without any alarm clock, if they make up their 
minds to do so. This phenomenon can be observed in hypnosis 
in a heightened degree. Charles Townshend, writing in 1844, 
drew particular attention to this.i He states that he has never 
known true somnambulists miss the exact moment when they 
were to remind the "magnetizer" to wake them, despite the 
fact that on waking they were completely unable to say what 
the time was. The most extraordinary thing of all, however, is 
that even post-hypnotic commands are obeyed at a particular 
moment of time which has often to be arrived at by calcula- 
tion ; for instance, the subject is told to carry out a particular 
task in 3300 minutes and is normally quite incapable of 
translating this into hours. Such people are often quite unable 
to memorize the long rows of figures used in such experiments, 
let alone to convert them. "Here all connection with mere 
analogies is suddenly broken off", says Janet. "We make a 
sudden leap and find ourselve on the borderland of the mys- 
terious powers of animal magnetism." Whoever does not believe 
in a spiritual existence and all the special powers that are 
germane to it will find that all this is quite unintelligible, for 
here the theory of suggestion offers no explanation, in so far 
as the hypnotists themselves are often unable to make the 
calculations concerned, and even make mistakes. The spirit-soul, 
however, does not need to depend on any calculations ; it sees 
the facts intuitively, and a certain period of time is a fact hke 
any other. Indeed, here the question expands as Frau Moser 
says, "to the problem of problems, to the problem of the human 
soul", to the problem of the body-free spirit-soul that is distinct 
from all matter. 


We have already said enough to show that the various occult 
phenomena discussed all admit of a natural explanation and 
that modern philosophy and psychology point the way to it. 
But this does not mean that the actual spirit world may not 

1 Fads in Mesmerism, p. 142. 

244 Occult Phenomena 

have an influence on the visible world of creation, or that we 
must as a matter of principle reject any such idea. On the 
contrary, if we can say of the rapport that there is a mysterious 
connection between the hypnotist and his subject and that the 
former more or less directs the sensual and spiritual life of the 
latter, then it is only logical to assume that the actual spirit 
world, if we adopt the point of view of the theologians and 
accept its existence, can exercise an influence on man. If we 
assume that, then we have to reckon with the possibility of 
so-called possession, i.e. the taking possession of a human being 
by a demon, and if the data of the faith or historical reports 
tell us of such happenings, we may look upon possession as a 
scientifically established fact. 

It is admittedly difficult to distinguish possession from many 
other morbid conditions of an occult kind, since the symptoms 
are often very similar, but there are certain things that enable 
us to distinguish between the two. There is first of all the 
theological fact that Christ himself repeatedly spoke of possession 
and commanded the evil spirits to "depart" from out of 
certain men, a thing that cannot be explained as "accommoda- 
tion" to the beUefs of the time (Semler), since such a thing 
would not be consistent with the holiness and truthfulness of 
the Saviour. In any case, psychology and medical science know 
of no such prompt cure effected by the simple speaking of a 
single word.i This last was some time ago clearly demonstrated 
by Frau Dr med. Katharina Knur, 2 and the psychiatrists 
Krafft-Ebing and Krapelin have confirmed it in their books on 
psychiatry, which have gone into many editions. 

Indeed, nearly all modern psychiatrists have reached this 
conclusion. Thus the neurologist Dr Alfred Lechler writes 3 : 

A . 

There is no doubt in my mind concerning the occurrence 

of actual possession, even in our own day, though such a 

thing is admittedly rare. I myself have seen a number of cases 

in the course of my practice which could not adequately be 

explained in terms of psychology or psychiatry. In all these 

1 Cf. Wiesinger, War die in der Heiligen Schrift berichtete Besessenheit blosse 
Geisteskrankheit? , Dissertation, Schlierbach, 1 9 1 1 . 

2 Christus medicusP, Freiburg, 1905. 

3 ^ur Frage der Besessenheit, Neubau, 1948, p. 234. 


Occult Phenomena 245 

cases I waited for a long time before diagnosing possession 
and invariably tried to see whether some other explanation 
would not fit the facts, but no such explanation was to be 

The psychiatrist D. Walter Schultze writes in similar terms in 
his Evangelische TheologieA For this reason the Church has 
rightly created exorcists as a special degree of Holy Order among 
her ministers, although cases of genuine possession are extremely 
rare, and she herself reserves the right to judge whether a 
particular case is one of possession or not ; each case must be 
examined to determine whether it is merely a case of patho- 
logical schizophrenia, or something due to preternatural 
influence. For the transition from one to the other is gradual 
and often almost unnoticeable, so much so that many scientific- 
ally trained observers claim to see the influence of a spirit where 
we ourselves still believe that purely natural causes are at 
work. 2 

Certainly cases such as the following, which was reported by 
Wilhelm AuflTermann and was widely circulated in the 
! European press, must be reckoned as borderline cases. In the 
! South Italian town of Catanzaro, on the 13th February, 1936, 
the body of Giuseppe Veraldi, a man of twenty, was found 
underneath the bridge, and it was thought that he had thrown 
himself into the river with the intention of taking his own life. 
Some three years later, on the 5th January, 1939, the seventeen- 
year-old peasant girl Maria Talarico passed this bridge in the 
company of her grandmother, being on the way to an agri- 
cultural course of instruction in the town. Suddenly the girl 
stopped, gazed attentively at the shore, collapsed and appeared 
to lose consciousness. When she had been taken home she said 
to her mother in a rough man's voice: "You are not my 
mother. My mother lives in the wooden hut, and her name is 
Catarina Veraldi. I am Pepe." She then asked for wine and 
cigarettes, took a piece of paper, and wrote on it in the dead 
Giuseppe Veraldi's handwriting, and began to play cards with 
\ the people who were there, calling them Toto, Elio, Rosario 

1 1949, pp. 151 fF. See ^eitschrift fur kath. Theologie, 1950, p. 479. 

2 E.g. Tischner, Ergebnisse, p. 175. 

246 Occult Phenomena 

and Damiano. It was remembered that these were the names of 
the dead man's friends — Toto had in the meanwhile emigrated 
to South America, She told how these friends had on that fatal 
occasion put sugar, salt and poppy seed into his wine and made 
him drunk; how then they had beaten him and dragged him 
to the bridge. When Pepe's mother arrived, the girl said to her 
in Pepe's voice : " My friends murdered me ; they threw me into 
the river bed, then as I lay there they beat me with a piece of 
iron and tried to make the whole thing look like suicide." An 
examination of the police report made three years previously 
confirmed the possibility that this might have been the manner 
of death. The girl, who appeared to be endowed with some kind 
of clairvoyance, made further statements, then she tore herself 
away and ran to the bridge, from which she threw herself over 
the parapet, crying out, "Leave me alone! Why are you 
beating me?" and then remained lying in the exact position in 
which Pepe had been found. Suddenly, after the dead man's 
mother had asked him to leave the girl, she returned to her 
norrpal state and stood up. 

Twelve years later a letter came from Tucuman in the 
Argentine, from a certain Luigi Marchete (probably the afore- 
mentioned Toto, since Elio was dead, while Rosario and 
Damiano were still in the neighbourhood), making Pepe's 
mother his sole heir and stating that he, Marchete, was the 
murderer of her son, he had beaten the man over the head with 
a piece of iron found in the river, because Pepe had been 
pursuing his wife Lillina, and the injuries had proved fatal. The 
other three had been accessories. Marchete had fled to the 
Argentine with false papers, had made money there, but had 
never had a quiet conscience, and now asked for forgiveness. 
Thus what this peasant girl in her abnormal spiritual state had 
declared concerning Veraldi's death was confirmed. 
' "Was it the dead man himself who spoke through her ? The 
unusual circumstances of the case, the suddenness of the trance 
in a perfectly healthy peasant girl, its length and its sudden 
cessation at the request of the dead man's mother, the serious 
purpose behind it all, which was to pin responsibility on to the 
murderers — all seem to point in that direction. As against this, 
no previous case is known where the possession of the body of 

Occult Phenomena 247 

one person by the soul of another who was dead has been 
proved, nor is there any mention in Revelation of anything of 
the kind. 

Some cases of possession were collected by Dr Justinus 
Kerner,! by Dr C. A. Eschmeyer^ and by Joseph von Gorres in 
the fourth volume of his Christliche Mystik (Regensburg, 1842). 
For a century, however, there have been no further such 
collections; indeed, the cases are very rare, and even then 
should in many instances have been more carefully scrutinized 
than has actually been the case. 

The evangelical pastor Johann Christof Blumhardt in 
Mottlingen, Wiirttemberg, had experience of such a case, 
which is described by T. H. Mandel in his Der Sieg von Mottlingen 
im Lichte des Glaubens und der Wissenschaft (Leipzig, 1896) ; this 
case, however, was included among the purely physical pheno- 
mena by Moser,3 together with the manifestations surrounding 
the little son of Professor Thurys Freund, and Professor Barrett's 
Florrie and Angelica Cottin. Both Mandel, however, and 
H. Freimann'* accept it as a case of possession. 

Because of the similarity of the symptoms, it often happens 
that doubt must for a long time prevail whether there may not 
be a natural explanation for certain phenomena, or whether 
they must necessarily be interpreted in terms of preternatural 
influence. For instance there is still no certainty whether 
between the years 1632 and 1639 the nuns of Loudun near 
Poitiers were possessed, or whether they were merely suffering 
from some infectious form of neurosis. The Jesuit J. von 
BonniotS and Dr Charles Helot ^ are of the former opinion, 
though experience recently gained might well lead us to 
question this. Most certainly the Church has declined to com- 
mit herself,^ and it will in any case be difficult to arrive at a 

1 Geschichte Besessener neuerer ^eit, Stuttgart, 1834. 

2 Konflict zwischen Himmel und Holle, an dem Damon eines besessenen Mddchens 
beobachtet, Tubingen and Leipzig, 1837. 

3 Okkultismus, pp. 711 ff. 

'^ Teufelaustreihung in Mottlingen. Wahrheitsgetreu erzdhlt von solchen die dabei 
ivaren, Osterwald, Stuttgart, 1892. 

5 Wunder und Scheinwunder, Mayence, 1889, pp. 363-398. 
^ Nivroses et Possessions Diaboliques, Paris, 1898. pp. 467 ff. 
' Curtius, Hochland, 1925-6, p. 64. 

248 Occult Phenomena 

decision now, since the documents often flatly contradict them- 
selves. For instance, we are told at one point that Sister Clara 
not only spoke Spanish and Italian, but also Greek, Turkish, 
and even Tupinambasic (the Tupinambas are an Indian race 
in Brazil), while Claude Quillet, an eye-witness, says: "I 
noticed that they (the nuns) only answered questions that were 
put to them in Latin to the extent that certain words were 
intelligible to them which happened to be much the same in 
our own language. When certain sentences were framed, how- 
ever, or expressions used which contained no words which were 
similar to their equivalents in our own tongue, they remained 

We must therefore really confine ourselves to comparatively 
modern cases which can or could be checked. A case of^osses- 
sion, or rather of obsession, that occurred quite recently is 

ported in the Benediktusbote^ : 

Because of the war a childless family had moved from the 
Rhineland into a little village on the Chiemsee in Upper 
Bavaria and occupied two small rooms. The man, a civil 
servant, was a Protestant ; the wife was a Catholic^ They took 
in a thirteen-year-old foster-child called Irma. Since the 
child's character was not such as to make them inclined to 
adopt it, they took in a second, four-year-old child called 
Edith and adopted it. After a year, actually in 1946, the 
latter succumbed to an indescribable fit of rage. So serious 
was the attack that the child was taken to the doctor who 
prescribed cold compresses. But the child began to deteriorate 
in character ; it began to give impertinent answers in a voice 
that was not its own at all, using very telling phrases, despite 
the fact that it could as yet barely speak its own tongue 
correctly. Also it became visibly thinner, became dirty and 
ugly, and performed the functions of nature in the room, 
which began to be full of urine and excrement. The family 
began to undergo a period of terrible trial, lasting from June, 
1946, till February, 1947. Everything was befouled, food was 
spoilt or disappeared — which in those days of food shortage 
was a very serious matter; the Uttle girl bit her foster- 

1 Reisinger, Wels, 1950, pp. 130 fF. 

Occult Phenomena 249 

mother's fingers so badly that for six weeks she had to wear a 
bandage. A number of other things besides food began to 
disappear — keys, for instance. Heaps of filth and pools of 
urine appeared under the eyes of the occupants of the rooms, 
and that in such quantities that they could not have come from 
a grown-up, let alone from a small girl, despite the fact that 
the small girl in question boasted maliciously that they had. 

Since there was already suspicion of demoniac influence, 
a miraculous medal was hung around the child's neck, where- 
upon the child's health was completely restored. She said that 
"it" no longer whispered into her little head to do this or 
that. Now the other girl, Irgia, became the target for the 
unwelcomF'aTtentions. Her clothing became full to a quite 
horrible extent of nasal discharge and a yellow slimy mass 
that looked as though it had come from some sick animal was 
all over the crockery. Petrol was poured on to the herrings, 
the husband had the rolls snatched away from him, and it 
was no longer possible to keep anything safe at all. The 
mayor and the parish priest were informed, but to the dismay 
of the couple, refused to give any credence to their story. 

After this an exhaustive report was sent to the Archbishop's 
Secretariat at Munich, a reply being received that "there 
certainly were such things as demons and that the possibility 
of demoniac influence had to be reckoned with, and that the 
faith definitely taught as much", while a learned specialist 
in this field wrote: "Whoever actually sees this reaching in 
of the spirit world into the natural one, and whoever has 
actual personal experience of it, cannot possibly doubt the 
existence of that other world. Such a man will indeed think 
twice before letting the demon get him into his clutches for 
all eternity." 

However, the affliction continued. While the husband had 
his accounts in his hand, having just made them up, they 
were cut in pieces, and the girl Irma received razor cuts on 
the hands and head and her heavy pigtails were cut ofT. The 
hardest blow of all for the family was that the villagers began 
to object to them, and demanded their expulsion. Only their 
landlord, a woman, had pity on them, although she herself 
had suffered a good deal because of them. 

250 Occult Phenomena 

At this juncture the family heard of the holy cross in the 
Benedictine monastery at Scheyern, and told old Fr Stephen 
Kainz of their terrible predicament. The good Father sent 
some little blessed crosses, and blessed the family from a 
distance with a fragment of the true Cross, which had been 
venerated at Scheyern since the twelfth century. From that 
moment all was quiet. 

When the two people heard, however, that another family 
of evacuees was being similarly pestered, they advised this 
family to seek help in Scheyern, whereupon, as had been 
expected, all the trouble promptly ceased — only, however, to 
begin afresh, as though by way of revenge, with the original 
family. Now paper was burnt everywhere, food began once 
more to disappear, or was rendered unfit for consumption, 
and the little girl's hair was cut off. Again an appeal was 
made to Scheyern, whereupon in February, 1 948, everything 
became quiet. 

It would indeed be hard to find a natural explanation for 
such happenings, even though we seek most liberally to apply 
the idea of suggestion and spook, for all who were living at 
that place were healthy and their participation was purely 
passive ,^ further, oiily .religious rneans were effective in curing 
the evil/ ' 

— A particularly well-authenticated case of possession in modern 
times is that of two children from Illfurt, near Mulhouse in 
Alsace, who manifested the symptoms of possession in 1865. The 
children, Theobald, aged ten, and Joseph, aged eight, came 
from the respected family of Burner, which numbered seven 
members. Fr Sutter's book, Satan'' s Power and Works on Two 
Possessed Children^ written in 1921 from authentic documents, 
has been translated into a number of languages, including 
Indian languages and that of the Ewe negroes. 

The boys began without any visible reason to turn around 
rapidly, while lying on their backs, to "thrash" the bedsteads 
and break them up ; then they would remain for hours lying 
apparently lifeless ; soon after this they developed an insati- 
able, wolfish hunger, their bellies began to swell, their legs 
began to intertwine like flexible withies, so that nobody could 

Occult Phenomena 251 

untwist them again. Then there appeared to them a hideous 
being with a duck's beak and with claws and feathers. 
Theodore threw himself madly upon it and pulled out 
feathers which lay about and gave off a loathsome stink. This 
occurred twenty or thirty times, in the presence of hundreds of 
people. The feathers, with their hideous smell, left no ash 
behind when burned. Sometimes the boys were lifted up 
from their chairs and hurled into a corner; on another 
occasion they felt a pricking and tickling all over their bodies, 
and fetched incredible quantities of feathers and seaweed 
from out of their clothes, and this occurred however often 
their shirts and clothing were changed. 

One of the most remarkable things about all this was that 
the children flew into violent rages and began positively to 
rave whenever any blessed objects were brought near them, 
and would eat nothing when, without their knowing it, a 
little holy water had been mixed with their food. They would 
also cry out in a rough man's voice, and would only stop 
when told to go on crying as much as they liked for the glory 
of God. 

After the doctors had tried all they could without success, 
the parish priest was called, who took pity on the poor 
tortured creatures and was anxious to bring some comfort to 
their parents who were almost in despair. The children, who 
had been well brought up with due regard to morality, found 
abusive names for all holy and consecrated objects, knew of 
things not taking place in their presence, and answered in 
French when they were asked questions in Basque. The devils 
did not want to go back to hell ; they gave their names and 
answered the priest's questions. 

The children were taken to the hospital, where they were 
for a time more quiet. They were now deaf; also they avoided 
coming near any consecrated or religious object. At length an ^ 
episcopal commission was appointed to examine the matter, 
which made a report in preparation for the exorcist. When 
Theodore was brought into the church so that the exorcism 
might be proceeded with, he trembled all over his body, 
developed a fever, foamed at the mouth and spoke blasphem- 
ies. When the priest recited the exorcism "I command thee 

252 Occult Phenomena 

to depart from here" the devil spoke from the child, saying, 

"My time has not yet come, I am not going." When the 

priest further recited "In the name of the Immaculate 

Conception", the boy called out in a deep bass voice, "Now 

I must yield", and fell down as though he were dead. After 

an hour he came to, rubbed his eyes and looked at all the 

people about him in astonishment. He knew none of them, 

1 although for four years they had constantly been about him. 

/ The only people he knew were his parents; his hearing 

I returned, however, and he was the same well-behaved, 

\ decent boy that he had been before, simply four years older. 

Some weeks later Joseph was similarly cured and by the same 
ceremonies, and continued thereafter to live a normal life. The 
whole picture of the condition of these children is different 
from that of the ordinary states of madness or of trance. The 
fact that the children were healthy to begin with, as indeed was 
the whole family, the sudden occurrence of the abnormal 
happenings, the impotence of the doctors and the hospital 
authorities, the stinking feathers and the seaweed, which all 
could see, the strange loathing for and fear of consecrated 
objects, the inexplicable hatred against everything connected 
with religion, and finally the manner of liberation, all argue a 
preternatural cause, though the apparent endowment with 
clairvoyance and the knowledge of languages are normal occult 

There are other recent cases, such as that of the two Kaffir 
girls in the Mission School at St Michael, near Umzinto in 
Natal, who were successfully exorcised by Dr Delalle, the 
bishop of Natal. There are various accounts of the story, and 
some booklets 1 were published which were translated into other 
languages, appeared in various German ecclesiastical publica- 
tions, and were the occasion of much controversy when 
published in the Kolnische Volkszeitung. There seem to have been 
faults on both sides. On the one hand, httle purpose seems to be 
served by the use of such expressions as "with burning shame" ; 
on the other hand, proofs were adduced to substantiate genuine 
possession which were in reality no proof at all. People should 

1 Gibt's auch heute noch Teufel?, by Fr Wenzel Schobritz, C.SS.R., 5th 
edition, Reimlingen, Bavaria. 

Occult Phenomena 253 

really keep their heads on occasions of this kind, for knowledge 
of languages, levitations and knowledge of hidden things occur 
among the ordinary phenomena of telepathy and occult powers 
in general, so that the number of people who witnessed these 
things is really irrelevant. There may here or there have been 
a hallucination, but in the main there is no reason to doubt that 
the phenomena occurred, since the testimony of a large number 
of witnesses agrees about them. Also the burn in the under- 
clothing was undoubtedly genuine, and there is no point in 
bringing up heavy artillery against it. 

What principally strikes one, and what distinguishes these 
happenings chiefly from normal occult phenomena, is that the 
abnormal conduct of the girl Germana commenced after she 
had committed herself to the devil in writing, that she recognized 
and feared holy objects, and that finally the "disease" only 
lost its hold at the bidding of the exorcising words of the bishop. 

It follows from what has been said here that the Roman 
Ritual's definition of the characteristics of possession recjuires 
some modification in the light of modern science. One of the 
signs of possession enumerated in the rubric is : "the making and 
understanding of long speeches in tongues which are unknown 
to the possessed person". This seems a reliable sign, in so far as 
there is no known case to date of a person in a trance uttering 
an ordered discourse in a tongue that was unknown to him. 
Whenever mediums have uttered words in a tongue that was 
unknown to them, they have merely read sentences by clair- 
voyance in some book or said something which, because of 
hypermnesia arising in the trance, they remembered out of the 
past. There is no recorded case of an ordered dialogue with 
question and answer in an unknown tongue taking place in a 
trance. If therefore this ever should occur, we would have to 
infer possession. The understanding of unknown tongues, however, 
is not a certain sign of possession, since in ordinary occultism 
there is such a thing as an understanding of the processes of pure 
thought, in whatever language they may find their expression. 

Further, the rubric speaks of "having knowledge of hidden 
and distant things". This, however, is a symptom which we can 
no longer rely on in view of the facts of telepathy and clair- 
voyance. Other parts of the rubric, such as that where it speaks 

254 Occult Phenomena 

of "putting forth powers that go beyond age and nature", are 
equally inapplicable ; for we have already noted cases of heavy 
objects being lifted up at seances and caused to float through 
the air, to the astonishment of those present. 

The eighteenth-century theologians Ferraris and Brognoli 
name other symptoms, such as "attention to questions and 
commands which are only made inwardly", but today, when 
we know of the fact of mental suggestion, such phenomena 
also must be disregarded. The case is very different when people 
react in an unusual way to the exorcismus probativus, or when 
persons who are normally of good character are suddenly seized 
by an incomprehensible hatred of all holy things, when their 
hatred suddenly burns against dedicated persons and against 
near and dear relatives, or when they become incapable of 
uttering holy words, or incapable of prayer, or of using holy 
things such as relics or of making the sign of the cross. By and 
large, however, one should see the picture as a whole and form 
one's judgment from the totality of the symptoms, and not from 
a few isolated facts which happen to find their counterpart in 
the ordinary processes of occultism, and even in quite ordinary 
nervous derangements. It is because the "discernment of 
spirits" is so difficult, that the Church counsels the greatest 
caution and reserves the application of exorcism to herself, 
suspending the priest who prematurely resorts to it. 

Most people, when the subject of preternatural influence 
comes up, fall into one of two extremes ; they either see the 
devil everywhere and help to develop that mania on the 
subject that has done so much harm, or they simply will not 
listen to any talk of diabolical possession or of the world of 
spirits and angels at all. It is the same as in the case of miracles. 
Some see miracles everywhere, others simply refuse to accept 
them at all. Some will quite prematurely declare that a miracle 
has occurred, others take the line that all science would be at 
an end if "such break-through of the closed causality of nature 
were ever to be assumed". 

The truth lies in the middle. Just as we Catholics are in no 
way urged to engage in the mass construction of miracles, so, 
under the guidance of the Church, we are extremely hesitant 
to assume the existence of diabolical possession in any given 

Occult Phenomena 255 

case. Nevertheless we are taught to accept the possibiHty of such 
interference on the part of the spirit world, while the facts of 
occultism, in hypnosis for instance, teach us the psychological 
mechanism used in such interference. Through the super- 
abundant grace of redemption, however, such cases of invasion 
by evil spirits are extremely rare. 

It would appear that the time is past when serious medical 
science could relegate a priori the possibility of possession to the 
realms of fable and superstition. As the above examples clearly 
show, doctors whose professional attainments must be taken 
seriously are convinced of its reality ; they occasionally discuss 
such cases, but dare not as yet treat of them in writing, though 
that may be because they think that once diabolical possession 
has been definitely established, the case no longer pertains to 
their department at all. The day will come, however, when 
people will discuss such cases from all the different angles from 
which discussion is possible, from that of theology, of medicine 
and of philosophy, and this too will redound to the salvation 
of mankind. 





IF OUR solution of the mysteries of spiritualism is correct, and 
if there are indeed in man spiritual powers which are the 
remnants of preternatural gifts, then it should hardly surprise 
us if these remnants were manifest fairly frequently (and not only 
at spiritualist seances) and if we could find traces of them long 
before the knocks of Hydesville, and this, in point of fact, is 
precisely what we can do. We have already spoken of the 
ancient necromancy, and here we may include all pythonesses 
and seers, magic healers, wizards, augurs, druids, dwarfs and 
water-spirits, all of whom used to ascribe their powers to gods 
or demons, for nothing was as yet known either of the soul or of 
divine revelation, a knowledge of which would have explained 
whence these powers came. The important thing to note is that 
all these phenomena had one thing in common. They occurred 
in a state of derangement when the senses were no longer 
functioning normally [unter '' Verriickung^^ der Sinne). This 
"taking leave of one's senses" was achieved either through the 
fumes that arose from the abysses of Delphi, or by means of 
soporific music, violent dances, intoxicating drink, salves or by 
other mysterious devices. Even today there are still serious 
attempts to attain new knowledge, new powers, ideas and help 
which are all based on the existence of these rudimentary gifts, 
though usually such cults bring complete mental disintegration 
in their train and achieve no useful result at all. 

In the light of these observations let us for a moment survey 
the first of such efforts, the cult called Neoplatonism, which has 

Occult Phenomena 257 

found its imitators in modern Theosophy, Anthroposophy and 
in the oriental Yoga cult and in Hinduism. 

When we spoke of the connection of soul and body we sided 
with Aristotle against Plato who more or less tore human nature 
in twain. If we desire to amplify and complete this judgment 
on the two princes of philosophy, we might well call Aristotle 
the philosopher of nature and Plato the philosopher of the 
preternatural, since his teaching on the origin of ideas reminds 
us of preternatural, infused, or innate ideas. 

Plato was born in the year 427 B.C., and became a pupil of 
Socrates (470-399 e.g.), who taught that virtue was a form of 
knowledge. Plato wrote down his teacher's thoughts in the 
dialogues, though these no doubt contain much that is original. 
In the Phaedo he expounded the doctrine of ideas. It is not the 
individual sense impressions that bring us true knowledge, but 
the thinking in ideas, for it is only ideas that exist. The per- 
ceptions of our senses only communicate the appearances of 
the things of this world, and these are always transient and have 
only a relative reality dependent on the degree to which they 
partake of the ideas. It is in the latter that the eternal reaHty 
resides which only reason can recognize. 

The first place among the ideas is taken by that of "the 
Good", which is God himself, the condition and origin of all 
else. Souls too are eternal. It is only because of certain less 
good qualities that they must be united to a body until such 
time as they can return to their original incorporeal existence 
(cf. Wiesinger, ^ur Bedeutung Platos Heute, Wels, 1 949) . 

It is the task of man to strive towards moral perfection by 
remembering the ideas he has once seen. Sense perception can 
help, but the important thing remains the immediate contem- 
plation of the ideas. This doctrine was accepted and continued 
by Plato's pupils of the Academy, who strove ever more to 
contemplate truth directly by spiritual contemplation up to the 
time when the Neoplatonist Ammonius Saccas (175-242 a.d.) 
and his pupil Plotinus (205-270) worked out a coherent system. 
Their aim was to defend Hellenistic philosophy against the 
oriental sects, and they began to toy with religious specula- 
tions. Plotinus tells us in his books (he wrote fifty of them) that 
he was able by direct contemplation to know the nature of his 


258 Occult Phenomena 

own soul and of God. He also constructed a theology with 
Christian elements which was later used by St Augustine. 
Plotinus by great efforts achieved something approximating to 
a mystical sleep, during which his partly body-free soul was able 
directly to perceive suprasensory truths. 

We have spoken of Neoplatonism as the first of these cults. - 
In strict accuracy, however, it should be stated that Gautama 
Buddha (560-480 e.g.) had earlier achieved something very 
similar by means of continuous contemplation, and had 
imparted this art to his pupils. These spiritual transports were 
so delightful to him that he looked upon the life of the senses as 
mere suffering, from which, as he said, we must save ourselves 
by denying our will to exist, and thus enter Nirvana. Actually 
this contemplation and dreaming of spiritual things in an 
ascetic mysticism is the essence not only of Buddhism, but of the 
whole of Hinduism ; for the latter is a religion of dreams and 
suprasensory experiences. Today the Yoga cult teaches a kind 
of forced contemplation achieved by means of mortification, 
breathing exercises, rhythm and fasting, the object being to 
attain union with the absolute. "Our soul is a little light 
which seeks to unite itself in Nirvana with the great fire-God." 

It should be noted, however, that the manner in which the 
fakirs seek to disencumber themselves of their bodies is different 
from that of hypnosis and of the repose of Buddha, for it occurs 
by means of mortification and breathing practices, the latter 
of which brings about a not inconsiderable degree of carbon 
dioxide poisoning, and this in its turn causes a diminution of 
the surface mental processes. It also leads to extreme emaciation 
and to a general disappearance of the power of sense perception. 
The soul thus becomes free for suprasensory knowledge and 
action. Through such practices and training the fakirs reach a 
stage where they are able to discontinue breathing and can 
allow themselves to be buried alive for half an hour, or even for 
six hours, or for weeks or even months ; they can lengthen the 
rate of their pulse, can walk on fire without being burnt. This 
is in accordance with the words of the Bhagavad Gita: "O my 
soul, no weapons can cut you nor can the fire burn." They even 
assert that they can prolong their life for centuries. 1 
1 Cf. Wiesinger, Nach Manilla, p. 91. 

Occult Phenomena 259 

That the partly body-free soul can act on the body is, as we 
have seen, a fact, and this action can be increased according 
to the measure of the freedom from the body; the soul can 
thus act outside of the body, and can become aware of distant 
objects and of suprasensory truths. When Westerners encounter 
such "miracles" they tend to be dumbfounded by them and 
not infrequently start practising the cults concerned. This was 
the case with the Russian Helena Petrowna Blavatzld (1831- 
189 1 ), who together with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1830- 
1907), a Buddhist philosopher, used oriental philosophy to 
found Theosophy, a cult that became well known and widely 
practised in the West. 

Like Neoplatonism, Theosophy seeks by means of con- 
templation to attain a direct knowledge of God even in this 
world, a contemplation which is the result of certain "immanent 
acts of human nature". Actually we know that these "im- 
manent factors of human nature" are the purely spiritual 
faculties of the soul ; we know their origin, their history and 
their dangers, which are evident enough in Theosophy. 

To complete the story we should add that the Englishwoman 
Annie Besant (1847- 1934), Blavatzki's successor, continued the 
latter's work in the direction of occultism and introduced into 
the system, among other things, certain Christian ideas as well 
as certain oriental pseudo-mystic elements concerning rebirth 
and the transmigration of souls (metempsychosis) . She legally 
adopted the Hindu boy Krischna-murti, who was to be the 
"master and saviour of the world", but who later denied his 
messianic mission. 

As among all other races there was present in the Indians 
the spontaneous conviction, arising from a vague half- 
conscious unreasoning intuition, that the soul is in its essence 
a spirit, and as such, can have an existence divorced from the 
body. Unconsciousness, dreams and ecstasies seemed to offer 
confirmation in terms of actual experience that such divorce 
could take place. As against this there stood that other fact, 
namely that the soul in this world is actually bound to the 
body. Its existence under these conditions is not in accord 
with its spiritual nature, and its final goal must be that 

26o Occult Phenomena 

independent purely spiritual existence which it will enjoy 
when it has left the body; that will constitute its ultimate 

It is true that neither Theosophy nor Anthroposophy touches 
the depths attained by Indian thought, and that at times they 
really do no more than trifle in a mischievous manner with the 
credulity of their adherents, but they bear witness to an innate 
longing on the part of all peoples for some direct connection 
with the purely spiritual. 

Some words of Fr Mager are here extremely apposite : 

Whoever has worked his way into the psychology of 
peoples [writes Mager] will become ever more vividly 
conscious that something great, real, exalted and true was 
vaguely apparent to the spirits of them all. Yet though such 
awareness may have had all the power of a force of nature, it 
still tends to remain dim . . . and those who experienced it 
did no more than attain to the portal which led to a new and 
independent world, the world of the soul separated from the 
body and of an infinite personal God. At that point sheer 
exhaustion caused them to break down. 2 | 

Ideas very similar to those of Theosophy inspired Dr Rudolf 
Steiner when he designed his system of Anthroposophy. To 
some extent he set himself in opposition to Theosophy and 
expounded his doctrines as the products of his own mind. 
Again we may quote Fr Mager : 

All the knowledge which, in his hoverings and wanderings 
through and over the different departments of learning, he 
tasted and snatched at, he managed with an uncanny skill 
and with a delicate spiritual illumination to weave together 
as threads into a single unity. Greek mythology which 
he learned at his gymnasium provided him with Atlantics, 
Hyperboreans and Lemurians, and he did some borrowing 
from the oriental mystery religions and from the Gnostics and 
Manicheans, The primeval fog of Kant-Laplace served him 
as a model for his spiritual primeval world, which by con- 
densation and fission releases all beings out of itself. He 

1 Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 248. 2 Mager, op. cit., p. 250. 

Occult Phenomena 261 

lodged as a transient guest with biology, chemistry, geology, 
physiology and experimental psychology, and for a time the 
history of philosophy also had its effect on him. He went to 
school with the Cabbala, with occultism and spiritualism. He 
read the books of the New and of the Old Testaments, and 
for a long time, and with a considerable talent for getting at 
the inwardness of what he read, he studied Goethe. For most 
of the time, however, his little builder's hut stood on Indian 
soil, where he used the building materials prepared by neo- 
Indian philosophy for his own constructions. In the whole 
edifice of Anthroposophy there is not a single stone that has 
not been broken loose from some other building. 1 

In the centre of his thought, however, there stands, not God, 
but, in accordance with the anti-transcendental trend of the 
age, man: "Man is the summit and perfection of the universe. 
God is at best only a function of his development." 

It is true that one sometimes has the impression that all these 
witty and playful combinations are only the product of the 
dreaming and discursive fantasy of a somnambulist, who from 
the depths of the subconscious traces connections which at first 
sight seem astonishing but which ultimately present themselves 
to us rather as the vague intimations of a misguided spirit than 
as truths arrived at by any process of exact thought. Again let 
us hear Mager: 

It is my profound and well-founded conviction that 
Steiner's Anthroposophy cannot be characterized otherwise 
than as the systematizing of the hallucinations of a misguided 
spirit into a coherent world picture. . . . Though Steiner may 
be continually speaking of the progress of thought towards 
self-consciousness, and of the contemplation of pure spirit, 
nevertheless his conceptions must be distinguished essentially 
from the Hegelian idea of the consciousness of the self, and 
from the contemplation of Plotinus or Buddha — to say nothing 
of the contemplation of the Christian mystic.^ 

Naturally enough Steiner's adherents take a very different view 
of him. These hold that "his life work is the conscious continua- 
tion and perfection of the way of Goethe, and is thus the 
1 Mager, Theosophie und Christentum, pp. 42 ff. ^ Mager, op. cit., p. 46. 

262 Occult Phenomena 

fulfilment of the deepest longings of the modern European 
spirit". It seeks the suprasensory world, but being inimical to 
every kind of mediumistic approach {alien medialen abhold) strives 
to reach it only by the road of science. As against this it is 
stated that Steiner shows the means by which the powers of 
suprasensory knowledge that slumber in man can be released 
and raised to body-free consciousness.! It was not Steiner's 
intention, it is claimed, to set himself against Christianity ; he 
was merely adapting spiritual knowledge to the modern age, so 
that people who stood aloof could once more be won over and 
interested in higher things. In order to succeed in this, he would 
have needed to give a clearer demonstration of the connections 
between his own teaching and Christianity with its belief in 
God. Such is the opinion of the Anthroposophist convert 
Bernard Martin.2 

It is, of course, to Steiner's credit that he deUberately set his i 
face against the crude materialism of his time and attempted to ,j 
spiritualize the natural history, chemistry, physics and medicine 
of his time and to raise them on to a higher plane. He sought 
to do this with the aid of the sheer immensity of the knowledge 
which an inspired intuition enabled him to accumulate — a fact 
which made a profound impression on many seeking souls. That 
much of his thought loses itself in mere dreamy abstractions 
is due to the above-mentioned circumstance that the purely 
spiritual powers in modern man have been atrophied and that 
for this reason no really significant and serviceable cultural 
edifice can be erected on them. As the mystics must always be 
orientated by the tenets of the Faith, if they are not to fall into 
the aberrations of quietism, so the culture of the spirit must 
never wholly divorce itself from the firm foundation of the 
senses, if it is not to run to seed in fruitless dreaming. 

Even among the Anthroposophists there are striving and 
searching souls, who must be taken seriously, and that is indeed 
something which the present writer is only too anxious to do. 
Yet their whole behaviour is but a confirmation of the present 
thesis, and they should really themselves recognize that the 
powers of the soul which we have here described make but an 

1 O. I. Hartmann, Wir und die Toten, Kienreich, Graz, 1947, pp. 35 ff. 

2 "Was ist Anthroposophie ? " in Stimmen der ^eit, Vol. 145, 1949, p. log. 

Occult Phenomena 263 

insecure foundation on which it is dangerous to build, unless 
there is far-reaching support and confirmation by the senses. 
For all that, we Christians should search our consciences and 
see whether we do not tend to pay too little attention to the 
spiritual powers of genuine mysticism and so let many people 
of real spiritual depth drift away from us. That is something 
which we should always bear in mind, even while rejecting, as 
we must necessarily do, the whole movement as it presents 
itself to us today. 

Most certainly the Anthroposophic movement represents the 
ultimate point reached by the degenerate culture of the West 
that is so far removed from God, even as Plotinus represents the 
final point of Hellenism, and Buddha the final flower of Indian 
culture, but in this present case the ultimate point is on a 
comparatively lower level. It is lower in precisely that degree 
that our distraught Western culture is something lower than 
the spirit of Hellas or than this Indian repose of spirit. 
Anthroposophy really represents nothing more than a sudden 
flicker of the hungry spirit-soul, a desperate striving to break 
through the limits of the bodily and to press forward to the 
purely spiritual. Yet such movements of the soul grow ever 
more ineflfective. They were strongest with Buddha, and in his 
case the whole surroundings, the climate, the human type and 
the whole Platonic-Indian philosophy assisted the process. The 
present-day trends of Hinduism, Fakirism and Shankar- 
philosophy, as exemplified by Rabindranath Tagore, Anima- 
nonda Brahmabandav, Saddhu Sundar Sing and more lately 
by Paramhanza Yogananda,! are weak excrescences from this 
gigantic work. The same thing can be observed in Neoplaton- 
ism. It contrived still to arouse the enthusiasm of the Church 
Fathers, but today it has hardly more than mere historical 
relevance. So it is with Steiner. His defenders and adherents 
come nowhere near the eminence of their master. 

It is not my purpose to evaluate these various theories which, 
as we have seen, are a mixture of occultism with pantheistic, 
evolutionist. Christian, Buddhist and Hinduist ideas, the 
character of which depends on the particular school where the 
founders and adherents of the philosophy in question happen 
1 Autobiography of a Togi, New York, 1948. 

264 Occult Phenomena 

to have made their studies, nor is it a matter for surprise if the 
esoteric quahty of these doctrines sometimes threatens the 
psychic equihbrium of their followers, for we know that such 
doctrines are the product of a partial derangement ( Verriickung) 
of the spirit; indeed, this applies to all the variants of occultism, 
which are all systems in which artificial dreams are at work, 
systems in which knowledge and historical fact are held in 
contempt, until everything ends in pure madness. 

As to the Yogis, the Western mind, preoccupied as it is with 
technical development and with all manner of scientific 
enquiry, has no aptitude for the kind of concentration which the 
Yoga cult demands. Orientals are different; they have for 
thousands of years had an entirely different kind of hereditary 
endowment and live in a climate more conducive to dreams and 
meditations. They are indeed Platonic natures, who can only 
with difficulty accustom themselves to the philosophy and 
syllogisms of Aristotle, but they show a higher development in 
those purely spiritual faculties which in the West only make 
their appearance in the darkness of spiritualist seances or during 
actual mental disturbance. 

One conclusion there is that we must fasten on as we hurriedly 
survey these world ideas which are to be found in every place : 
it is that they derive from an irrepressible longing, from a 
natural and passionate desire for those preternatural gifts which 
became useless by sin. These gifts were not intended as some- 
thing contrary to nature, but as a support and perfection 
thereof Today, after the Fall, man can only quench this most 
understandable desire for them by winning back, by the power 
of grace in true mysticism, something of that which has been 
lost. Apart from mysticism, there remains only artistic creation, 
in which also resides the grace of God and in which the shrewd 
observer can also see fragments of those erstwhile angelic 
powers. These last, however, can only produce great world 
cultures with the aid of the corporal soul expressing itself in 
science and technical achievement. The highest form of culture 
comes into being when Plato and Aristotle, wisdom and science, 
culture of soul and technical skill, are joined together in the 
right proportions, and in those proportions seek to conquer the 
world for the upward ascent of man. 

Occult Phenomena 265 

What Theosophy, which has grown on Indian soil, is to the 
Christian West, the Cabbala seeks to be upon the national soil 
of Judaism. The name comes from the Hebrew Cabal ( = to 
receive) and signifies a secret doctrine, derived from ancient 
Jewish literature, by means of which a man can influence 
nature through a certain mystical use of letters, perform 
miracles and attain all manner of magical results. It is really 
not worth the trouble of going into this system in any detail, 
since most of the interpretations involved are forced, artificial 
and have about them the foolish and even nonsensical quality 
of a dream ; cures that have been ascribed to this agency can 
probably be explained by auto-suggestion — when, that is to 
say, they have been other than merely illusory. 

Much the same may be said about astrology, which declares 
that the position of the stars enables man not only to foretell 
the weather, but to read human destiny as well. It is, of course, 
true that cosmic rays can, by their interference, influence 
electromagnetic action within living cells; indeed, there are 
some who contend that the very origin of life on earth can be 
explained by these rays^ ; it thus "no longer appears completely 
absurd that a cell should have come into being under the sign 
of a particular constellation" and in this way the illusions of 
astrology receive something like a scientific foundation. Never- 
theless astrology has for thousands of years never progressed 
beyond certain dark intimations ; it is an old superstition that 
goes back to the time before Christ ; it has on several occasions 
been condemned by the Church, but it has nevertheless, since 
the first world war, revived as a substitute for genuine religious 
practice, particularly in Theosophist, Anthroposophist and 
occultist circles. These ridiculous, artificial and equivocal 
theories should be rejected out of hand, though they often 
fascinate the great uneducated masses, to whose blind faith they 
owe the influence they exercise, for the horoscopes which 
astrologers produce are framed in such general terms that they 
fit any situation, and if, after any particular event, the inter- 
pretation is padded sufficiently, they can be quite startling. 
One hears stories of people who put their whole faith in 
horoscopes which have been drawn up for them, and who then 
1 Cf. Lakhovsy, Das Gekeimnis des Lebens, pp. 205 fF. 

266 Occult Phenomena 

aver that all has turned out as shown thereon. One hears of such 
cases as that of a person whose horoscope was drawn up under 
the sign of Leo, and who was then informed by some learned man 
that on his birthday the sun was in Piscator, whereupon that 
person had a new horoscope drawn up, which fitted the facts 
even better than that drawn up under Leo. The whole thing is 
so elastic that one can read anything into it, and one can well 
apply the words of Pico dell a Mirandola which he uttered in 
the fifteenth century : "Astrology is the corrupter of philosophy ; 
it soils medicine and puts an axe to the roots of religion. It robs 
men of their tranquillity and fills their minds with disturbing 
images; it turns the free man into a slave. It cripples men's 
energy and throws them forth on to a sea of misfortune." ^ 

1 In Fischl, Christliche Weltanschauung, p. 248. 


[In mystical sleep God uses the mechanism of the hmnan personality 
described in this book, and in the highest forms of the mystic life 
brings about something like the condition enjoyed by our first 
parents. When this occurs, both the spiritual and the corporal 
elements of the soul again function together and the one need no 
longer be put out of action in order to liberate the other.] 

WE HAVE now seen that, with the exception of genuine 
prophecy, of "free" spooks that are bound neither to a 
person nor to a place, and of genuine possession, occult para- 
psychological phenomena must be regarded as a rare develop- 
ment of our own spiritual life, a life that has its basis in man 
himself and in his spirit-soul. We need not therefore take refuge 
in unproven "radiations", still less in supposed spiritualistic or 
diabolical, let alone supernatural-divine interference. Even 
prophecy, spooks and possession must be kept within the strict 
sense of their own definitions and treated as exceptional things. 
Prophecy, for instance, must not be confused with mere shrewd 
anticipation of the future, an anticipation based on causes 
already existing and containing their consequences within 
themselves. Free spooks, again, must not be identified with 
spook phenomena that are bound to an abnormally endowed 
person, or with such as can be explained by collective hallucina- 
tion, nor must genuine possession be predicated in the case of 
those varied manifestations that people with possession on the 
brain tend to diagnose as such. We must confine ourselves 
strictly to such well-attested facts as do not admit of explanation 
in terms of parapsychology. Everything else admits of a natural 
explanation, either in terms of some physical force of an 
electroid or magnetoid character, or of those abnormal spiritual 
powers which we encounter in our investigations into the occult 
powers of the subconscious. Those abnormal powers have here 

268 Occult Phenomena 

/ been shown to be nothing other than the spirit-soul in action, 
and the sooner this is recognized, the sooner we shall be able to 
effect a synthesis between modern science and the inferences to 
be drawn from theology. 

In my examination of this matter I have been able to show 
that the subconscious was amenable to a progressive guidance 
of its uncontrollable powers by external agencies, ranging from 
hylomantic objects to a suggested idea, and from an ordinary 
hypnotist to a demon, by agencies, in fact, which pass through 
the whole hierarchy of creation. Our business is now to draw 
the conclusion and to see that the soul is kept open to 
the influence of its Maker, for though the latter has power over 
all creation, he has nevertheless made his guidance and taking 
possession of the soul depend on certain conditions, namely on 
the effects of the Redemption, by which our original state of 
innocence is restored. This is the process that takes place in the 
true mystical life. 

When I speak here of mystical sleep, I do not thereby wish to 
imply that this is the essence of the mystical Hfe, or a necessary 
transition to the higher stages of that life. It is only the most 
generally trodden way, and one in which the external relation- 
ship with other abnormal states of the soul is particularly clear. 
For the mystical life, has only an external connection with the 
phenomena so far described, but it nevertheless represents the 
progress and fulfilment of an elemental urge in human nature 
to establish a relationship with God that cannot be attained by 
our natural powers. The powers possessed by man before sin 
were lost, and the misfortune for human society was incalcul- 
able, but man still retained a dual characteristic. 

Firstly, there remained to man his soul as such, with all its 
powers and faculties, though it was now constrained within the 
bounds of his physical body. Yet originally that soul by a special 
grace of God should have preserved purely spiritual powers 
that transcended the physical, and by means of these should 
have been able to sustain, rule and perfect the body's powers 
and so keep that body sound and immortal, and regulate its 
appetites. But that soul was confined through sin within the 
Hmits of the body, and was weakened in its spiritual powers, as 
has been shown. Nevertheless, the soul remained — ^it lived. 

Occult Phenomena 269 

There was also an urge and a striving on the part of the 
spirit-soul to tear itself away from the body's embrace. 

There is a feeling innate in man and in all peoples [writes 
Mager], which is incapable of conceptual definition, that the 
moving and animating principle within us, the soul, is some- 
thing independent, reaching out beyond the bodily life and 
its demands into the infinite. It is as though the soul ever 
instinctively strove to assert, against all attempts to equate it 
with our bodily life, its essential spirituality and immortality. 
In this spontaneous and usually unconscious protest of our 
human nature against the equation of the soul with the 
material, there also breaks through an instinctive awareness 
that body and soul are things of an opposite nature. The soul 
in its elemental urge towards pure spirituality feels itself 
constrained and hindered by the body and by the things of 
sense. They seem to be almost its mortal enemies. Since, 
however, it cannot simply disencumber itself of the body, it 
seeks to repress and hmit the latter's desires and demands to 
a minimum. Purifications, expiations and castigations of all 
kinds are intended to make of the body an obedient instru- 
ment for the soul. 

As men are by nature aware of the spirituahty and 
immortality of the soul, so with equal directness and 
instinctiveness they feel the presence of a being in nature 
which is itself beyond nature and, though it animates nature, 
is not itself nature but a spirit. God and the soul are both 
spirits. Their natures are related. It is true that man contrives 
on occasion to reject God purely intellectually when he 
professes to proceed from the point of view of the scientist 
pure and simple, and to deny him ; but no one will ever be 
able to eradicate from the human breast that dim but yearn- 
ing perception of a spiritual, supermundane and infinite 
being; and it is this being that the soul seeks to approach. 
It seeks direct contact with him, and it is here that the 
material, the body, puts itself obstructively in the way. 
Again we see that antagonism to the material, to the body. 
The strongest methods are devised for the elimination of the 
body and of the Ufe of sense, so that the soul may be released 

2 yo Occult Phenomena 

from all its entanglements in the body, and fly freely forth 
into the world of the spirit, i 

There thus originated numerous attempts to regain those 
powers that had been lost by man, sometimes by honest 
striving after a form of self-preparation that was far-seeing, 
scientific, and wholly in accord with nature. Buddha, at the end 
of the culture of India is a case in point, as is Plotinus at the 
end of that of Greece. At the end of Western culture we have 
Steiner. There has, of course, always been magic, for magic 
never wholly dies. 

But man never gets further than the gateway, "the threshold 
of a world behind whose doors eternal life lies hidden. Through 
those doors he could not pass. When he reached them he 
collapsed and the ancient world collapsed along with him." 2 
"A connection between God and the soul that was really a 
union between two persons was never attained. Yet it was only 
such a connection that could assuage the deepest longings." ^ 
Without power and without resource, mankind stands there in 
this mood of Advent with its longings and its cries. One has 
exactly the impression that the very latest developments are 
pointing once more to Christianity, in which the longing of 
mankind throughout the ages might at last find its satisfaction. 

When Christ was already upon earth [writes Mager], the 
representatives of the people sent messengers from Jerusalem 
to John the Baptist with the question whether he was the 
Messiah. He denied this and said, "Already he stands in the 
midst of you and you know him not." Our own time, so full 
of longing and searching, turns to Theosophy, Anthroposophy 
and other doctrines to find redemption. Yet the solution of 
all our riddles has been standing in the midst of us for 
two thousand years ; for two thousand years there has been 
standing in the midst of us the assuagement of all our 
longings, the consummation of all our aspirations. ^ 

Christ has brought us redemption ; not only has he restored 
to us the supernatural good of sanctifying grace, he has also 
brought us the supernatural idea, in the sense that the way is 

1 Mager, Theosophie und Christentum, p. 13. ^ Mager, op. cit., p. 18. 

3 Mager, op. cit., p. 83. '^ Mager, op. cit., p. 84. 

Occult Phenomena 271 

once more open for us into the realm of mystic remembrance, 
to a union of love with the pure spirit, with God. It is the way 
taught by the Christian mystics. 

Christianity is in its innermost being essentially mystical, 
for it proceeds from the fact that there is a direct connection 
between spirit-soul and God. The activity of the soul as a 
pure spirit is mystical, an activity that goes hand in hand 
with the elimination of the corporal-sensual and of the 
functions of the corporal soul. If we say that the essence of 
Christianity is mystical, it follows logically that we should 
conceive of all baptized persons as mystics. Yet the mere fact 
that the Christian accepts in the Faith the truths of Revela- 
tion by no means implies that that inner transformation has 
already taken place within him by which, even when it is 
still in the body, the soul is raised up to the independence of 
a pure spirit, without thereby loosening its connection with 
the body. Since the goal of the Christian life and the direction 
in which it acts lies along the same road as that trodden by 
the mystics and the saints, there is no gainsaying that 
Christianity does strive to free the soul from that confinement 
to the body to which original sin has relegated it and to train 
it for the freedom and independence of a pure spirit. 1 

St Paul distinguishes between the corporal and the spiritual 
soul, between the homo psychicus and the homo pneumaticus. 
Naturally St Paul recognizes the essential unity of the soul, but 
as Aristotle distinguishes between the three functions, the 
vegetative, the sensitive and the spiritual, so there are again two 
groups within the intellectual soul; the first, those of the 
corporal soul which works by means of the body; and the 
second, which as a pure spirit unites with the pneuma, God, 
and thus is designed to achieve union with God, though in the 
reverse order from the "processions" in the Holy Trinity. The 
Father begets the Son, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from both ; 
so the soul must first unite with the Holy Ghost, and it is only 
through him that it obtains sanctifying grace, the sonship of 
God. "According to the fathers there corresponds to the out- 
ward movement of the divine persons a return one, in which the 

1 Mager, op. ciL, p. 93. 

272 Occult Phenomena 

Holy Ghost, by his entry into our souls and his enduring work 
therein, leads us upward to union with the Son and through 
him with the Father." 1 With the mystics it is not knowledge, 
still less an inquisitive search for knowledge of hidden and 
secret things, that takes the first place, but love, which leads 
the spirit-soul into ever closer union with God. 

"In baptism by the Spirit (as the Scriptures call the baptism 
of Jesus, to distinguish it from the baptism of John the Baptist) 
the love of God is poured out into our hearts through the spirit 
of God which dwells within us." 2 In this manner the pneuma, 
the spirit-soul, rises to a new life. We are here not concerned 
with a mere renewal, but, to use St Paul's words, with a new 
creation in the full sense of the term.^ Spiritual processes now 
take place which never existed, nor could have existed, before. 
That is why St Paul designates himself and his community as 
primitiae spiritus, as the first to whom this life of the spirit-soul 
has been vouchsafed. That in this granting of the divine spirit 
we are concerned with real operations of the soul is shown us 
by the story of primitive Christianity where the fullness of the 
divine spirit could be perceived by all. At that time outpourings 
of the spirit were looked upon as recognizable signs of the 
rebirth within. Thus Christianity is the only religion which 
builds up on the facts of an independent spirit-soul in man, 
one spiritual God in three persons, and an immediate union 
between the two. Let it again be emphasized that Christianity 
with its new-creative redeeming activity begins at just that 
point where the old theosophies had ended in exhaustion.'* What 
therefore distinguishes the mystics is " an experienced knowledge 
of God through love ". 

To this goal man attains first of all by his own efforts, by 
means of which he reaches at least the first stages of the 
mystical Hfe. Poulain^ mentions four such stages, vocal prayer, 
meditation, affective prayer and the prayer of simplicity, all of 
which can exist side by side or follow one after the other. The 
prayer of simpHcity is the highest stage that can be reached by 
means of ordinary grace, a stage which even the natural mystic 

1 Scheeben, Mysterien des Christentums, 19 12, p. 165. 

2 Rom. 5. 5. 3 II Cor. 5. 17; Gal. 6. 15. 

"* Cf. Mager, op. cit, p. 89. ^ Handbuch der Mystik, Herder, 1925. 

Occult Phenomena 273 

can reach. What is beyond this belongs to the mystic Ufe proper, 
which is also spoken of as being infused, and is different from 
all other kinds, requiring, as it does, a special and unique grace 
on the part of God. This is a very brief statement of the 
doctrine commonly accepted today of the mystical gifts of grace. 

This is not the place to enter into the controversy between 
Saudreau, Lamballe, Dimmler, Garrigou-Lagrange and Lercher 
on the one side and Poulain, Richstatter and Mager on the 
other, as to whether the mystical life is or is not essentially 
different from the prehminary stages that lead up to it. Mager, 
however, does seem to be right when he says that the grace 
bestowed by God in this state is not essentially different, but 
that the acts performed by man in the mystical state are quite 
different, being acts of the spirit-soul. We wish here to develop 
this idea somewhat further. 

Three or four stages are again recognized in this infused 
mystical life : the prayer of quiet (imagination still retains its 
freedom), the prayer of union (with ecstasy), the prayer of 
spiritual betrothal and marriage. 

It is clear from what has been said that the most important 
thing for the ascent of the various stages of the mystical life 
is love, and it is here that we can find the solution of the 
riddle why none of the worldly philosophers have attained to 
such knowledge of God by direct experience. They lack the key, 
which opens the treasury of God's grace and so alone gives the 
special power required to rise to the highest stages. Neither the 
Platonists nor the other philosophers knew love ; still less do the 
modern theosophical, anthroposophical or occult systems know 
it. Further, the mystical life cannot be forced upon anybody, 
as Fr Surin, S.J., sought to force it on the superior of Loudun, 
the unfortunate Jeanne des Anges (Mme de Belciel).! Here also 
we have the answer to the question whether the soul can, even 
in this life — that is to say, during its sojourn in the body — act as 
a pure spirit. 

If primitive Christianity and tradition both bear witness 
to the fact that there is such a thing as a direct experimental 

1 Henri Bremond, Histoire litt^raire du sentiment religieux en France, Bloud 
et Gay, Paris; see Mystische Hochflut im 17. Jahrhundert, by E. R. Curtius, 
Hochland, 1925-6, p. 61. 

274 Occult Phenomena 

perception of the working of grace and of the Spirit within 
the soul, then this is only conceivable or possible psycho- 
logically on the assumption that the soul can act, and does in 
point of fact act, as a pure spirit. It is only thus that we can 
explain the declarations which all mystics make unanimously, 
namely that they can in their mystical experiences actually 
contemplate God and his attributes, the Holy Trinity, etc. 
We can well understand that this so-called mystical con- 
templation is not the same as the contemplation of the 
blessed in heaven. It is the same kind of knowledge as, 
according to Catholic doctrine, is possessed by the departed 
soul in purgatory, when it is not yet healed of all the wounds 
incurred during its association with the body. As long as the 
soul in its mode of being is still imprisoned in the body, the 
apprehensions of the spirit-soul cannot be direct, but only 
partially so. Hence possibilities of error arise for the mystic, 
and the possibility of a degeneration of even the grossest kind. 
A man enjoying mystic contemplation can still never dispense 
with the Faith, or with the norm established by the Church's 
teaching office. When the soul in its mystical experience 
acts as pure spirit-soul, then there is nothing inexplicable 
about the various secondary phenomena of the mystical life 
such as visions, voices, etc. It seems unnecessary for me to 
add that a soul which under the influence of the divine 
spirit gradually frees itself from its entanglement with the 
body, and from its union therewith, is raised to the manner 
of activity of a pure spirit, and experiences, knows and loves, 
God in an incomparably higher fashion. We can only form 
a very imperfect idea of the joys and happiness, the tortures 
and the night of the soul that go with the life of mystic 
contemplation. The mystics call the joy of contemplation an 
anticipation of the joys of the blessed, and the tortures an 
anticipation of purgatory, i 

The mystic's union with God does not lead to the beatific 
vision, but because it is born of love, and love strives for perfect 
union, the soul is sorrowful for so long as union is not perfectly 
attained as with the souls in purgatory. 

1 Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 5 1 . 

Occult Phenomena 275 

Admittedly in the dark night of the soul the presence of 
God is experienced, but it is experienced as a purifying force, 
and for that very reason as something painful. That is why 
it is for the soul as though God were very distant, which is 
precisely what the souls in purgatory feel. Opposites are on 
the same level of being. If indeed the soul is in that state in 
which it directly experiences God's working in itself, then 
the feehng brought about by separation from God is of the 
same degree as the feeling aroused by his immediate presence. 
Hence the dreadful torture. For this is indeed the suffering 
of a pure spirit. 1 

The sufferings of the mystics are greater than any bodily 
suffering. St Teresa once complained to her Saviour of these 
sufferings, and the Saviour repHed: "That is how I treat my 
friends." Whereupon St Teresa rejoined: "No wonder that 
they are so few." The sufTering is that of the soul that is still 
separated from God, and its longing for more perfect union in 
the beatific vision. Only there is perfect happiness to be found. 
It also becomes clear, however, that the soul can indeed 
function as a pure spirit, though it can only do this by dis- 
encumbering itself as far as possible of all that pertains to the 
body. Hence the need for mortifying the senses, a process that 
has no other purpose than the repression of the bodily. 

If we subject to psychological analysis the means that are 
supposed, on the ground of general experience, to lead to the 
mystical life, we again find that they have no other object 
than gradually to lead the person concerned to an activity 
that is that of the spirit-soul and nothing else. In that 
measure in which they eliminate all that pertains to the 
corporal soul, they enable the spirit-soul to assert itself. Vocal 
prayer that stands at the threshold of the way which turns 
a man from the outward to the inner life, is still saturated 
with elements of sense which permeate the imagination and 
make up its concepts. Even in so-called meditation the 
corporal soul still plays a very large part. The soul immerses 
itself in the truths of revelation, which present themselves to 
it as things of the outer world. The purpose of such meditation, 

1 Mager, op. cit., p. 225. 

276 Occult Phenomena 

as it moves from one truth to another, is to make those 
truths into motives of action. The will is to be powerfully 
stimulated. The waters of the soul are to be brought into 
motion. After protracted practice it is easy for the soul to 
obey the higher impulses and set itself thus in movement 
without prolonged meditation. This is the phase of affective 
prayer. The part played by the corporal soul steadily 
diminishes. The movements of the soul become deeper and 
reach right down into the purely spiritual. Then only the 
smallest of impulses is required to bring the soul into move- 
ment on its own account. This is the so-called prayer of 
simplicity. Without meditation, a single simple truth acts so 
powerfully upon the soul that it remains in movement for a 
whole day. Here the assistance of the corporal soul is reduced 
to a minimum. From time to time there is an experience of 
that nearness of God of which previous mention has been 
made. With this we reach the point where the element of the 
corporal soul withdraws completely and the mystical life of 
the spirit-soul begins.! 

The degree of the ehmination of the corporal soul is in this 
instance greater than in sleep, but less than in purgatory, and 
this may well be one of the reasons why the acts of knowledge 
performed during sleep are of less consequence. This elimina- 
tion of the corporal soul proceeds by stages. In the "prayer of 
quiet" the imagination is still active, nor will the soul have as 
yet been able fully to free itself from its operation. 

The mystical Hfe [says Father Mager] is life indeed, and 
life is development from the imperfect to the perfect. Mystical 
development takes place, according to our mystics, in certain 
distinct stages. In the initial stage, that of the prayer of 
quiet, God and the soul still confront one another at a certain 
distance. True, the soul already feels the irresistible magnetic 
power which God exercises upon it. It burns with the desire 
to approach God more closely and to lessen the distance 
between him and itself In direct self-awareness the soul 
becomes conscious of hindrances and inhibitions, imperfec- 
tions and impurities which make it impossible for a more 
1 Mager, op. ciL, p. 172. 

Occult Phenomena 277 

intimate union with God to be achieved. The soul still suffers 
too much under the leaden weight of the body and its effects. 
There ensues an agonizing condition — a night both of the 
senses and of the spirit, as it is called in the mystical literature 
of Spain. What is happening is that an inner transformation 
of the soul is taking place. God and the soul are approaching 
one another. All this is of course mere pictorial imagery. 
It vaguely symbolizes what occurs, but does not describe it.i 

It is in the prayer of union that the ecstasies occur, which 
are a complete cessation of sense perception. St Augustine 
describes ecstasy as follows: "When the soul's attention has 
been completely diverted from the senses of the body and utterly 
torn away from them, there follows that state which one calls 
ecstasy. Then a man sees nothing, whatever bodily objects may 
be present, even though his eyes are open, nor are any voices 
heard." Somewhat later he speaks of ecstasy as "a condition in 
which the soul is more withdrawn from the bodily senses than 
it is in sleep, but to a lesser degree than in death ".2 

Ecstasies, however, only last for a time, and are essentially 
negative; they are merely a help, or rather a necessary pre- 
supposition, if purely spiritual activity is to take place. In the 
prayer of union the last fetters fall away. In the preliminary 
stage, the prayer of union (when it occurs) is preceded by the 
prayer of quiet. Also when it ceases it passes back into the 
prayer of quiet, and it is only after this that the normal state 
reasserts itself Later the prayer of union occurs without there 
being any transitional stage that leads up to it, and it becomes 
intensified to such a degree that the soul seems drawn to God, 
embraced by him, veritably snatched away by him, so much so 
that the mystic feels that soul and body have actually parted. 
A positive rent appears to occur between them. The soul loses 
all consciousness of the body, of space and of time. This 
condition comes so suddenly into being and with such a 
degree of power that the body becomes rigid and is sometimes 
actually drawn upwards together with the soul. This is ecstatic 
prayer, the condition of ecstasy. St Teresa has given us 

1 Mager, op. cit., p. 166. 

2 St Augustine, De Genesi ad litt. 12. 12 ; see Mager, op. cit, p. 298. 

278 Occult Phenomena 

marvellous descriptions of the bodily changes that take place 
on its approach. 

In the mystical life, ecstasy plays the part of a normal but not 
indispensable organic connecting link. There is no need to 
speak of it as extraordinary, let alone as miraculous. In it that 
process reaches its culminating point, which we have already 
observed, the process by which the soul is Ufted out of its 
imprisonment within the body, and can thus function as a pure 
spirit, the functions of the corporal soul being for the time 
eUminated. The separation of body and soul cannot go further 
than it does in ecstasy without bringing about actual death. 

Mystics are very far from designating ecstasy as the cul- 
minating point of the mystical life ; indeed, it does not pertain 
to the essence of the mystical life at all; there are mystics 
who never experience ecstasy — St Augustine, for instance, 
and St Gregory the Great; also ecstasy is experienced by 
persons who are still immersed in the natural mysticism of 
the pagan philosophers. Indeed, ecstasy is for many mystics 
simply the result of the weakness of their bodies, which are so 
overwhelmed by the sudden snatching to himself of the soul by 
God, that all semblance of life seems to leave them. The body 
must in such cases first accustom itself to the soul's new mode 
of activity. For others, on the other hand, ecstasy is definitely 
an end to be desired. Poulain in his The Graces of Interior Prayer 
speaks of it as the third stage of the mystical life. 

This dualism between soul and body, which attains so radical 
a stage in ecstasy, is something imperfect and unfinished, a fact 
that the soul when in ecstasy quite clearly recognizes. The 
obstructive effects of the body are still too strong within the 
spiritual soul, which is confronted by the need of a new 
cleansing and purification. This is the final and most terrible 
night of the soul. In it the last wounds are cauterized and 
healed — the wounds inflicted by original sin on the soul in 
respect of its union with the body. It is only now that the ultimate 
bonds that hold back the soul are relaxed. Now, in the words 
of St John of the Cross, God permeates the soul as heat permeates 
air. Heat and air both tremble in a single motion, despite all 
the distinctions between them they have become one in this 
common motion. This intimate penetration of God and 

Occult Phenomena 279 

the soul is called by the Spanish mystics "spiritual marriage" 
(matrimonio espiritual) . 1 

In spiritual marriage, the mystical experience becomes a 
permanent condition, which lasts without interruption through- 
out the day and is only interrupted by sleep. The mystic can 
now undertake any other kind of activity and give it his full 
attention, and the psychic law that attention cannot be directed 
to two things at once is suspended. There is now no cutting 
out of the functions of the corporal soul — ^yet despite this we 
have before us to a most marked degree that very thing which 
was to be observed in the prayers of quiet and of union, namely 
the free activity of the soul as a pure spirit independent of the 
body. The element of imperfection which was still present in 
the prayer of union and the prayer of quiet, in so far as in these 
all activity of the corporal soul had to be eliminated — that 
element has now disappeared ; the harmony between body and 
soul has been completely restored. The soul has now ceased to 
be the slave of the body; the chains have been completely 
broken; the body, which had once been unable to endure the 
reversal of the accustomed relationship, has now become the 
obedient servant of the spiritual soul. What the theologians 
call the fomes peccati has at the same time been extinguished. 
External objects and bodily impulses no longer determine the 
end and purpose of human knowledge and will and so the self- 
realization of the soul ; they are now only the means to effect the 
spiritualization of the soul, and so to make it more receptive of 
God's working in it. The mystics agree that in this state of 
spiritual marriage the soul knows God not simply as the 
absolute or as the creator and sustainer, the giver of eternal 
blessedness, but as God in three persons ; they see him in fact 
as the triune God — in so far, of course as creatures standing 
outside the beatific vision can do this.^ 

"A remarkable thing in the state of spiritual marriage," 
says St John of the Cross, "is that when it occurs the senses 
again exercise their full function. In the previous stages the 
mystical state is only momentary, and during it sense-activity 

1 See Dr M. Waldmann in Lexicon fur Theologie und Kirche, art. 
" Parapsychologie ". 

2 Cf. with all this Mager, Mystik ah Lehre und Leben, pp. 167 ff. 

28o Occult Phenomena 

is suspended. But in the perfect state of spiritual marriage the 
sensual part of man is so adjusted to the spiritual that it can 
continue its activity even though that wholly different form of 
knowledge which is contemplation is actually functioning." l 

From all this it is sufficiently clear that all the phenomena 
of occultism and parapsychology (until we actually come to 
genuine prophecy and the appearance of phantoms which are 
not tied to any person or place) are explicable in terms of a 
very rare condition of the human soul and that they need not 
be interpreted in spiritualist terms or in those of the diabolical 
or, for that matter, of the supernatural or the divine. A very 
important point is that we should distinguish between ecstasy 
and trance, for they are "polar" psychological opposites, as 
like and unlike as genius and madness. Maximum tension of a 
power of the corporal soul — even an intellectual power — leads to 
ecstasy, while maximum relaxation from all such activities leads 
to sleep and, under certain conditions, to twilight states, 
trances, etc. What St Paul says concerning the speaking with 
tongues (I Cor. 14), the thirty-year theological and ecclesi- 
astical battle against the ecstasies of the Montanists, St Thomas, 
Cardinal Cajetan in his commentary on the latter's Summa, 
Benedict XIV in De Beatificatione III, c. 49 — all bear witness to 
the fact that the main criterion between the mystical life that 
is truly supernatural and divine on the one hand, and the 
mysticism of natural philosophy and in particular that debased 
mysticism {Aftermystik) which is a phenomenon of para- 
psychology on the other, lies precisely in this essential difference 
between ecstasy and trance. 

We must also draw a distinction between the phenomena of 
religious (Catholic) parapsychology and the true Catholic 
mystical Kfe; Katharina Filljung of Biding near Metz (1848- 
1915) and even Theresa Neumann may be cited as examples 
of the first, while Mother Salesia Schulten, the Ursuline of 
OsnabriJck (i 877-1 920), may be chosen as a classic example 
in our own day of the genuine mystical Hfe in its highest and 
purest form. According to Richstatter [Lexicon fiir Theologie und 
Kirche, ix. 353), "her writings are among the most valuable 
things in the whole mystical literature of the world". To the 

1 St John of the Cross, in Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 378. 

Occult Phenomena 281 

other cases, however, we may well apply the words of Cardinal 
Cajetan in his commentary on the Summa Theologica (II-II, q. 
i73j 3.. 3, ad 4) that a condition in which memory and con- 
sciousness have disappeared is out of harmony with what is 
laid down by St Paul (I Cor. 14, 32) : "The spirits of the 
prophets are subject to the prophets." We can certainly say 
that the phenomena connected with Theresa Neumann do not 
fit into the traditional pattern — which of course is in itself no 
ground for rejecting them. She is a blessing for all the people of 
Germany, who should be duly grateful. 

Speaking generally, one may say that visions, voices, stigmata 
and levitations are secondary and inessential things which 
should be treated with great caution, since the element of 
illusion is very prone to enter into them. To be able to say 
when such things are something other than mere phenomena 
of parapsychology (to say nothing of the delusions of the devil) 
is a science on its own account. 

I found it impossible to refrain just now from describing the 
true phenomena of the mystical life in the words of the master 
of that subject, Fr Mager. Mager is almost the only con- 
temporary writer who speaks of the purely spiritual soul, 
describing its activity as beginning when the senses are with- 
drawn, but who also insists on the essential difference between 
the true mystical life and all other states of the soul, especially 
natural mysticism and, still more, pseudo-mystical tendencies. 
These thorough-going studies of the mystical life help to con- 
firm the writer's thesis, particularly against Castelein and 
Lepicier, who will never accept a purely spiritual activity on 
the part of the soul and so must, at any rate in Lepicier's case, 
ascribe all occult phenomena to the devil. 

It is the task of Christianity to overcome the consequences of 
original sin, and that in the fullest sense ; in the mystical states 
there is a restoration almost of the state enjoyed by Adam in 

Let us, however, turn back to Fr Mager : 

It would therefore appear [he writes] that such con- 
templation — at least this seems to be the conclusion we can 
draw — is a modica participation a measure of participation in 

282 Occult Phenomena 

the angelic mode of knowledge, which means that the human 
soul here functions as a pure spirit. Even if we assume that 
the part played by mental imagery has been reduced to a 
minimum, our human mode of cognition could never, not 
even in the least imaginable degree, become a participation 
in the cognitio angelica, the "angelic mode of knowledge" — any 
more than the most delicate organization of minerals, though 
it may simulate the coarser forms of plant life, can turn itself 
into a plant. Yet for all that the chemical prerequisites in a 
plant are of the same kind as in a mineral compound. If, 
however, this mystical contemplation is rooted in the soul's 
activity as a pure spirit, there is nothing so very extraordinary 
in the fact that it should feel the nearness of God, have an 
experimental perception of God, behold the Blessed Trinity, 
etc. These things become matters of course ; they are an essen- 
tial part of that cognitio media which, according to St 
Thomas, 1 Adam enjoyed while still in a state of innocence.^ 

This is the state to which St Benedict sought to lead his 
monks and to which he refers as oratio pura. 

St Ignatius also seeks to create in his Spiritual Exercises, the 
conditions for the true mystical life, as Fr Richstatter points out,^ 
through great purity of soul, love of the Saviour and the desire 
to participate in his sufferings, by his rules for the discernment 
of spirits, by directing to prayer from the heart and the 
production of contemplation. 

Fr Mager insists elsewhere that 

the mystical life does not imply anything unusual or ex- 
ceptional that is reserved for specially privileged people. 
Rather is it a part of that great transformation that must take 
place in man as he approaches his final perfection. It begins 
at that point where the soul, still bound to the body, begins 
to function as a pure spirit, that is to say independently of 
the body. It means therefore the spiritualization of man, a 
withdrawal within himself, the attainment of independence, 
by his purely spiritual part, the re-establishment of the spirit 
in its original sovereignty over the body.** 

1 St Thomas, I, 94, a. i . 2 Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 209. 
3 Die ignatianischen Exerzitien und die mystischen Gebetsgnaden, pp. 33 fF. 
'♦ Mager, Mystik als Lehre und Leben, p. 171. 

Occult Phenomena 283 

To form a clearer understanding, however, of the psychic 
processes involved in all this it would be well to examine such 
figurative concepts as those of the "night of the soul" and 
"passive purification". In general the mystics tend to speak of 
two such "nights of the soul" ; the first occurs at the beginning 
of the prayer of quiet, when the senses begin to be withdrawn 
and the processes of logical reasoning begin to cease. Up to this 
point the person concerned had been in the habit of co- 
operating faithfully with grace to practise meditation, and 
make resolutions for the future conduct of life. This now 
becomes impossible, and the fear which this inability engenders 
produces the feeling of being in a state of spiritual dryness 
and emptiness, a thing which causes intense suffering until 
there has been complete adjustment to this new way of the 
following of Our Lord. 

The other night of the soul begins when at length it succeeds 
in utterly breaking through the bounds of the sensual-bodily 
and stands, as it were, face to face with the purely spiritual, with 
God, Three in One. In this state the soul recognizes the 
holiness of God, and — when it looks at itself — its own unholi- 
ness and sinfulness. No very grave faults may be involved, but 
even quite small transgressions now seem to be immeasurably 
terrible things which render it unworthy of the proximity of 
God. Such souls now regard themselves as the greatest sinners 
in the world — and this is no mere phrase to them, but bitter 
earnest, and they are filled with sadness and shame at the thought 
of it ; the whole force of their being draws them irresistibly 
towards God, and yet they tend to draw back through a sense 
of their un worthiness. Their condition is very like that of the 
poor souls in purgatory, who are aflame with the love of God 
and desire to see him, but may not do so till they have per- 
formed the full measure of their penance — this is indeed the 
real nature of the suffering in purgatory, and what the soul of 
the mystic experiences is really something very Uke it. It is 
suffering of this kind that drew from St Teresa the words 
quoted a few pages back. 

Alongside these nights of the soul we have the so-called 
"passive purifications". As the soul contemplates the holiness 
of God, the resolution is formed in the subconscious to be holy 

284 Occult Phenomena 

and to avoid this or that imperfection in order to be less 
unworthy of God's presence. When the soul returns to the life 
of sense, these resolutions that are embedded in the subconscious 
spread their effect into the ordinary life of the person con- 
cerned, the actual psychical mechanism being the same as that 
which permits purely hysterical thoughts to dominate the body 
throughout a lifetime. In the case of the mystic, the result is 
that he is simply no longer capable of falling into the faults in 
question ; he is in fact in a very similar condition to that of a 
man who has been hypnotized, and afterwards performs 
"post-hypnotic" acts without really knowing why he does so. 
In this manner "the last wounds are cauterized and healed". 

Thus at every stage of the mystical life we encounter states 
which become quite intelligible to us if we compare them with 
those parapsychic phenomena which were described in the 
preceding pages, while these phenomena in their turn sustain 
the general theory that has here been advanced. Although the 
psychic mechanism is the same, we are nevertheless dealing 
with two radically different sets of things. Ecstasy, for instance, 
which is really a mystical sleep, not only affords cognitions of 
a much higher order than the artificial sleep of hypnosis, but 
is actually the latter's polar opposite, and the mere fact of a 
certain psychic parallelism should never induce us to treat the 
two phenomena as being of the same order. There is a whole 
world of difference between them, both as to purpose and cause. 
Yet it is with this same fundamental mechanism of the soul 
that grace works and God leads on the soul in a manner 
adapted to its nature. 

The mystical graces of prayer represent the highest stage 
of spiritual knowledge and are, in the words of St John of 
the Cross, "a heroic effort to pass beyond our human nature 
into the realm of pure spirit" ; nevertheless the mystics warn us 
against striving to attain these states for their own sake, since 
they involve an abnormal form of spiritual life. "It is best to 
reject all this out of hand and without enquiring whether the 
origin be good or evil." 1 To desire visions and voices is a sign 
of childishness ; ecstasy itself is a weakness (St Teresa) ; and 

1 St John of the Cross, cf. Fr Penido, O.P., in Revista Eccl. Brasileira, 
1941, p. 441. 

Occult Phenomena 285 

similar warnings occur in the midst of dissertations on the 
highest mystical states. It is true that some mystics have a 
different view. For St Bernard, for instance, ecstasy was a 
thing definitely to be desired; it was a foretaste of eternal 
happiness. It is not a purely negative thing, an emptying, a 
paralysis of the physical, but rather something positive, a 
wholly new form of being and existence, l 

Enough has been said above about the results of original sin 
and the danger that the experimental "derangement" of the 
spirit may become chronic. Speaking purely psychologically, 
therefore, the same general principle applies even to the experi- 
ences of the mystic life. Though it is certainly our duty to 
co-operate with the graces of God, it would nevertheless be rash 
to overlook the dangers involved in cutting out our normal sense 
life while we are still on earth, dangers that can only be 
eliminated in the mystical life that is truly led by God and 
guided by his grace, but which are ever-present in the baser 
forms of mysticism. 

It is not the writer's intention to pursue these ideas any 
further, or to write a general theory of the mystical life. All he 
has sought to do is to sketch in the general features of that life, 
the real nature of which is known to comparatively few people, 
and so to furnish further proof for the central idea of his thesis. 
For if such states as those described occur in the mystical life, 
then there must be a certain aptitude or predisposition to 
them rooted in human nature itself, as also supernatural grace 
itself finds in man the potentia obedientialis. Such aptitude, 
unfortunately, only rarely bears fruit ; for one thing, it is only 
possible for it to do so within the Catholic Church, in which 
alone the full benefits of the Redemption are to be found, and 
with them the potentialities originally possessed by Adam. 
Moreover, even within the Catholic Church it is rare for the 
true mystical states to be achieved, partly because these depend 
upon the free granting of grace by God, and, apart from that, 
it is all too rare for men to undertake the labour of mounting 
the first steps in the mystical life; their love and readiness for 
sacrifice are too weak for that. 

1 See Dr Robert Linhardt, Die Mystik des hi. Bernhard von Clairvaux, 
Munich, 1923, pp. 231 ff. 

286 Occult Phenomena 

For that very reason, however, they are all too ready to join 
the heathen in treading the paths of the occult and indulging 
themselves in pseudomysticism, and to dissipate their energies in 
magic, spiritualism and theosophy, to their own physical and 
spiritual ruin. Such a thought was indeed uttered by Bishop 
Keppler,! when, confused and deeply shocked by the very 
horror of it all, he witnessed the antics of the dancing dervishes. 
What was the purpose of the performance that he so vividly 
described ? Surely it was nothing less than the despairing cry of 
the immortal soul for union with God. The true mystical life is 
unknown to such people; hence these aberrations. The same 
might well be said of occultism as a whole. It occurs most 
frequently in those places where Christianity is unknown or 
known insufficiently, above all where the Christian way of life 
is not followed. ^' Aemulamini charismata meliora" (I Cor. 12. 31) 
— "Be zealous for the better gifts." 

^ Wanderfahrten und Wallfahrten im Orient, p. 138. 


Accommodation, biblical, 244 

Adam, 74, 77, 80, 81 ff., 86 ff., 282 

Adler, Alfred, 120 

Aksakow, 50, 60, 64, 218 

Alcher of Clairvaxix, 66 

Alcoholism, 215 

Allers, Dr, 202 

Ammonius Saccas, 257 

Amnesia, 239 

Anaesthesia, 236, 241 

Angels, 26, 29, 35 ff., 77, 87 

Anthropos, 125 

Anthroposophy, 57, 257, 260, 261, 

Antony, St, 147 
Apport, 180, 225 
Aristotle, 3, 10, 27, 37, 40, 257, 264, 

Ars, Cure d' — and prophecy, 118, 

Artemidorus, 41 
Astral Body, 215 
Astrology, 182, 256, 265 
Auffermann, W., 245 
Augustine, St, 16, 37, 42, 59, 77, 81, 

84, 258, 277 ff. 
Aura, 61 Y^' 
Autolevitation, 177 ff. 
Autosuggestion, 173 ff., 192, 199, 


Baader, 44 

Bachtold-Staublis, i6g 

Bacon, Roger, 43 

Baerwald, 137, 145, 160, 204, 237 

Bailly, Marie (Lourdes miracle), 208 

Bartmann, 86 

Basket stabbing, 147 

Baudouin, 199 

Baulit, 198 

Beausoleil, Count, 198 

Becker, 196 

Benedict, St, 282 

Benediktusbote, 248 

Bequerel, 144 

Bergson, 46 

Berlage, Dr, 1 1 6 

Bernadette, St, 123 

Bernard, St, 81, 285 

Bernheim, 204 

Berrenberg, 88, 96 

Besant, Annie, 259 

Bessmer, S.J., 116, 117, 154 

Besterman, Theodore, 212 

Beuer, 105 

Bhagavad Gita, 258 

Bielefeld, 192 

Binet, 60 

Binnendyk, 232 

Blavatzky, 259 

Blondlot, 144, 145 

"Blood-speaking", 238 "^ 

Blumhardt, 247 

Body-soul ( = corporal soul), 5, 10, 

57 ff., 68, 78, 194 
Boerhave, 44 
Boissarie, 207 
Bonaventure, St, 43 
Bonniot, 55, 247 
Bosco, St John — message from the 

dead, 228 
Boulenger, 198 
Bourg, Guy du, 197 
Bradley — records spirit voices, 175 
Brahmabandav, Animanonda, 263 
Brauchle, 201 
Bremond, 273 
Brognoli, 254 
Brunner, Seb., 28 
Buchanan, Prof. J.R. — psychometry 

Biichner, 231 
Bucke, 60, 68 

Buddha, Gautama, 66, 258, 263, 270 
Burner family — possessed children,-*^ 


Caballa, 256, 261, 265 



Cagliostro, 187, 211 

Cajetan, 280, 281 

Calami, Prof. — and divining rods, 

Cardanus, 50, 125 
Carrel, Alexis, 120, 208 
Carus, C. G., 59 
Caruso, 133 

Casablanca — War meeting at, 162 
Castelein, S.J., 140, 172, 203, 222, 

225, 281 
Catanzaro — case of possession by 

soul of one dead? 245 
Cathrein, Fr V., 34 
Chaffin, J. C. — case of the will of, 

Charcot, 204 
Charpentier, 144 
Chiemsee — recent case of possession 

at ? 248 
Chiromancy, 9, 1 1 5 
Chowrin, Dr, 151 
Christian Science, 182, 199 ff., 

202 ff. 
Christ, Christianity, 270 ff. 
Cicero, 130, 160, 187 
Clairvoyance, 136 ff., 149 ff., 21 1 ff.y 

2i9» 233, 242ff. y/ 

Cleptomania, 132 
Colorado — meeting of Irvingites at, 

Comar, Dr, 157 
Compulsive actions, obsessions, 26, 

131 ff. 
Contemplation, 274, 281 

vCrystal-gazing, crystallomancy, 183, 

187, 211 ff. 
Cumberlandism, 9, 115, 137, 200, 

Cures, see Healings 
Curran, Mrs P. — books dictated by 

spirit? 222 
Czepl, Th., 197 

Dacque, 48 

Daumer, 44, 52 

Davis, A. J., 215 

Dead — reappearances of? 27 ff., 
216 ff., 228 ff. 

"Death Rays", 196 

Delalle, Bishop, 252 

Delphi, 40, 256 

Demonomania, 131, 214 

Descartes, 4, 55, 56 

Dessoir, 186, 204 
Ny' Detective mediums", 157 
^^evil, 36, 75, 112, 124, 126, 183, 
185, 214, 236, 252 ff. 

Dickens, Ch., 222 

Dickmann, 198 

Didier, Al., 159 

Dietrich, F., 196, 198 

Dilthey, 46 

Dimmler, 273 

Diocassius, 187 

Dipsomania (alcoholism), 132 

Dittius, Gottliebin, 129 

Divining, by rod, etc., water- 
divining, etc., see Radiaesthesia 

Dodona, 40 

Controls, spirit controls, 13, 75, 214^/ Donat, S.J., 39, 45, 56 ff., 79, 80, 

232 120, 133, 206 

Cook, Florence ( = Katy King), J)reams, 102 ff., 141, 145, 194 

famous medium, 50 ,182 

Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim, 
43, 187 

Corporal soul, see Body-soul 

Cottin, Angelique — child medium, 
129, 181, 247 

Coue, Coueism, 43, 182, 199 ff., 
235, 241 

Crookes, S. W. — investigated medi- 
ums, 49, 128, 179 ff., 216 

" Cross Correspondences ", 145 

Cryptaesthesia, 231 

Cryptoscopy, i.e. spatial ^clairvoy- 
ance, 151 s/ 

Driesch, Dr, 37 ff., 49, 151, 161 
Droste, Chr., 158; Dr H., 116 
Drugs, narcotics, "truth drugs", 7, 

134, 238 
Dualism, 57 
Dufoy, Dr, 139 
Dunninger, 187 
Duns Scotus, 24 
Durham, U.S.A., 71, 133 
Dusart, Dr, 140 

Earth magnetism, earth radiations, 

Ebinghaus, 119 



Eckehartj 43 

Ecstasy, 277 ff., 280, 284 fF, 

Eddy, Mrs Baker, 202 

Eidetic (visions), 122, 128 

Einstein, 1 10 

Eisler, 59 

Electro-shock, 134 

Emmerich, A. C, 73, 160 

Eschmeyer, Dr C. A., 247 fF. 

E.S.P. (extj-a-sensory perception), 

69, 152^ 
Ethnology, 187 
Eudemos, 41 
Exorcism, 251 fF. 
Exorcist, 245 

Fakir, 179, 258 
Fatima, 123 
Faust, Dr, 187 
' Feeling ' ' (as a mode oF knowledge) , 

50 fF., 

45 fF. 
Feldmann, Dr, 27, 39 

i93> 230 
Ferrand, Dr, 159 
Ferraris, 254 
Feuchtersleben, 44, 199 
Fichte, I. H., 48, 59 
Filljung, K., mystic, 280 
Fischer — case oF telekinesis, 176 fF. 
Fischl, 37, 266 
Flammarion, C, 44, 64, 141, 182, 

215, 218, 222 
"Florrie", ProF. Barrett's, 247 
Flournoy, ProF. Th., 127, 180 
"Fluidal man", 210 
Form, 3, 65 
Fox, K. and ,M. — and spiritualism, 

170, 215V 
Francis oFAssisi, St, 238 
Francis Xavier, St, 147 
Frankl, 57, 120, 202 
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke — 

assassination Foreseen, 105, 146 
Freimann, H., 247 
Freimark, 125 fF. 
Freud, 59, 119, 132 
Friedlieb, 25 
Frobes, no 

Garrigou-Lagrange, 273 
Gatterer, S.J., 72, 178 

10 — O.P. 

Gemelli, Fr, 199 
GeraFa, S.J., 102 
Geyser, 60 

Ghosts, spirits {see also Hauntings), 
'^ 14 fF., 16 fF., 214 fF., 222, 224 fF., 

227, 232 
Giberts, 140 
Gillhausen, Major von — Foretold 

World Wars, 165 
Givry, Chateau — case oF missing 

man Found by medium, 233 
Goodrich-Freer ("Miss X"), 211 
Gorres, J. von, 71, 117, 247 
Gosselin, R., 46 
Grabinski, 230 
Graham, Dr, 175 
Graphology, 9 
Gredt, FrJ., 29, 87, 142 
Gregory the Great, St, 42, 278 
Gully, Dr, 50 
Giinther-GefFers, 158 
Gurney, 136 
Gutberlet, 26, 53, 60 
Guyon, Madame — books w^ritten in 

trance, 72 
Guzik, 129 
Gyromancy, 198 

Haddock, 157 

Haeckel, E., 57, 207 

Hallucination, g, 123, 132, 148, 187,^^ 

239 ff- 

Hanussen, E. J., "detective medi- 
um", 158 

Hartmann, E. von, 47, 59, 96, 216, 

Haschek, ProF, 144 

Hauntings {see also Ghosts), 171 fF.,</ 
181, 217, 230 

Healings, 204 fF., 210, 241 fFk"^ 

Heinemann, Colonel — water divi- 
ning, 197 

Heinrich, 26 

Helmont, von — on magical power, 

Helot, Dr, 187, 247 
Henskes, Arnold ( = Mirim Dajo), 

"fluidal man", 210 
Heredia, S.J., 39, 49, 138, 154 fF., 

179, 186 fF. 
Herodotus, 214 



Heroldsbach — disputed case of 
vision at, 122 

Hinduism, 257 ff., 263 

Hilprecht, Prof. — scientific know- 
ledge in dream, 104, 159 

Hodgson — case of Mrs Piper, the 
medium, 218 
V Home, the medium — levitation, 128, 
178, 179 

Horace, 103, 130, 183 

Horoscopes, 265 

Horst, 125 

Husserl, 46 

Hydesville — and Fox family, 170, 
214, 256 

Hylomancy (=psychometry), 73, 
143, 151, 183, 230 ff., 234 

Hyperaemia, 9, 237 

Hyperaesthesia, 112, 131, 236 

Hypermnesia, 213, 233, 239 

Hypnosis, 7, 183, 195, 233 ff. 

Hysteria, 9, 26, 118 ff,, 203 

lamblichus, 42 

Idealism, 57 

Ignatius, St, 282 

Illfurt, Alsace — case of possessed 

children, 250 
Illumination (see also Noopneustia), 


Illusion, 239 
x/Impregnation theory (of hauntings, 
hylomancy, etc.), 231 
India, 147, 259 
Irvingites, 146 

Jacobi, F. H., 45 ff. 

Jacoby, no 

JacoUiot, 179 

James, 60 

Janet, P., 59 ff., 140, 216, 243 

Jansen, B., 55 

Jause, E., 198 

Jerome, St, 84 

Jodl, Dr, 137 

John of the Cross, St, 278, 279, 284 

John Damascene, St, 214 

Jolivet, 46 

Joseph, St, 35, 112 

Jugglers, Indian, 147 

Jung, Dr, no, 202 

Kainz, Fr, 250 
Kant, 45, 47, 52, 199, 227 
y^arin, the medium — raps, 171 
Kauders, 57 
Keppler, Bishop, 286 
Kerner, J., 227, 247 
Keyserling, 46 

Pving, K. ( = Florence Cook), 50 
Klages, 4, 58 
Kdimsch, Dr R., 27, 217 
Kluski, 129 

Knot experiments, 180 
Knur, Dr, 246 
Kock, 133 

Kolnische Volkszeiiung, 252 
Konig, Dr, 86, 88 
Krafft-Ebing, 244 
Krall, and the reading horse, 242 
Krapelin, 244 
Kraus, 129 
Kritzinger, H. H., 196 

Lacroix, Fr, 22, 104, 112, 154, 175, 

198, 232 
Lafontaine, 147 
Lakhovsky — cosmic and vital rays, 

143, 151, 265 
Lamartine, 130 
Lamballe, 273 
Lamberton, 104 
Lanes — foresees murder in dream, 

Lanyi, Bishop — ^and Sarajevo assas- 
sination, 105 ff. 
Laszlo, 129 
Lauvergne, 52 
Lebranchu, Marie — Lourdes cure, 

207, 208 
Lechier, Dr, 244 

Lehmann, A., 120, 161 ff., 204 ff. 
Lelut — transference of thought, 140 
Lemoyne, J. B., 229 
v/Lenormand — alleged prophecy by, 

Leo XIII, Pope, 155 
Lepicier, Fr Alessio, 17 ff., 19, 35, 

53> 281 
Lercher, 26, 33, 273 
Leymare — ^photographing of spirits, 

Liebault, 163 

Index 291 

Life, vegetative — influence of sout-% Mediums, 126 fF., 136, 155 fF., 171 fF., 

on, 237 
Lindworsky, S.J., no 
Linhardt, Dr, 81, 285 
Linzer Quartalschrift, 180, 202 

Logos-Therapy, 202 

Lombroso, 218 

Lopanson, 105 
\jLoudon, Nuns of — mystic pheno- 
mena, 247, 273 

Lourdes, 34, 204 ff. 

Louvain — experiment in suggestion 
at, 173 

Love — and union with God, 272 

Lowenfeld — and telepathy, 139 

Lucan, 187 

Ludwig, Dr, 229 

Madness, 128, 129 ff. 

186, 213 fF., 232 

Mehlmann, O.S.B., 80 f. 

Mental suggestion, 25, 100, 138, 
151J 187 

Mercier, 132 

Mergen, A. — criminologist on 
mental effect of drugs, 7 

Mesmer — and animal magnetism, 7, 
49, 161, 243 

Metaesthesia, 231 

Millesimo, 129 

Mirabelli, 129 

Mirim Dajo, "fluid", "invulner- 
able" man, 210 

Mirror, magic, 212 

Moineau — water diviner, 198 

Monism, 47, 57 fF. 

Montanists, 280 

Mager, O.S.B., 34, 39, 46, 260 fF., v More t, Mme — example of "detec- 

136 ff"., 

270 ff, 274 ff., 279 ff, 282 
Magic, 182, 185 ff, 270^,^ 
Magid, 1 1 2 
Magnetism, 7, 51, 61, 142 fF., 234, 

Maldeghem, Countess von, 227 
Malfatti — cases from, 39, 104, 116, 

i7i> 1795 197 
Mandel, T. H., 247 
Mango-tree trick, 148 
Manifestations, physical, 

142 ff, 170 ff. 
Marchete, Luigi, 246 
Marco Polo, 148 
Margery, 129 
Marie Antoinette, 127 
Maritain, 46 
Marmet, 198 
Marriage, spiritual, 279 
Martefeld, Countess — and Sweden- 

borg, 153 
Martin, B., 262 
Mary, appearances of, 124 
Mastholte — thefts uncovered at, by 

clairvoyance, 192 
Materializations, 72,170, 178, 18 iff., 

214, 217 ff. 
Materialism, 3, 47, 57 ff., 214, 231 
Mattiesen, E., 27 
Measurement of time — in hypnosis 

242 ff. 
Medal, miraculous, 249 


tive" medium, 233 

Moser, Dr Fanny, quoted 61 et 

Moses and Old Testament, 214 

Mviller, E. K. — electrically- traced 
emanation from human body, 144 

Myers, F. W. H., and the sub- 
conscious, 59 et passim 

Mysticism, 34, 183, 188, 225, 262, 
264, 268, 271 ff., 285 

Mysticism, "natural", "of the 
.•occult", 66, 73, 78, 195, 199, 225, 
280, 285 

Narcoanalysis, 7 ff., 134 
Naumann, Dr V. ( = Spectator), 

moulding of body by soul, 9 
Necromancy, 187, 256, 214 
Neoplatonism, 41, 256 ff., 263 
Nerves, motor, 237 
Neumann, Theresa, 73, 281 
Neurosis, 26, 132 
Nicholas II, Tsar — and Rasputin, 

Niedermeyer, Dr — hysteria, 119 
Noopneustia, 18, 20, 25, 29, 33, 87, 

94j 138 
Nostradamus — ^prophecy, 25 169 

, Obsession, 248 
^4^ 'Occultism, 67, 186, 241 
Od, 144 



Olcot, Colonel H. S. — founder of 

Theosophy, 259 
Olivi, Fr P. J. — the nature of the 

soul, 4, 55 fF. 
Original Sin, 86 fF. 
Otztal — second sight endemic in, 


^^ Paladino,Eusapia — ^famous medium, 

128, 178, 180 
Paracelsus, Aur., 43, 187 
Paraesthesia, 132 
Paramnesia, 231 

Parapsychology, 209, 279, 280, 281 
Paray-le-Monial, 34 
Pascal, 130 

Paulsen — hypnotist, 149 
-Pentecost miracle, 147 
Perispirits, 9, 61, 75, 146 
Perty, Max., 50, 60, 104, 169 
^Petzold of Bielefeld — clairvoyant, 

Phaedrus (of Plato), 40, 130 
"Phinuit, Dr" (Mrs Piper's), 232 
Photography of spirits, 148, 182, 215 
Pico della, Mirandola, 266 
'^iper, Mrs — famous medium, 219, 

223, 232 
Plato, 4, 10, 37, 40, 55 fF., 96, 130, 

160, 257 fF., 264 
Plotinus, 42, 66, 258, 263, 270 
Plutarch (Delphic High Priest), 41 
Posidonius, 40 fF. 
'HPbssession, 151, 183, 243 fF. 
Poulain, S.J., 273 ff., 278 
Prayer, stages of, 272 fF. 
Precognition, 1 60 fF. 
Prevorst, the Seer of, 125, 160, 213, 

Prophecy {see also Precognition and 

Second Sight), 25, 106 fF., 117, 

163, 281 
Psychiatry, 244 
Psychoanalysis, 7, 1 19 
Psychodes, 61 

Psychometry, see Hylomancy 
Psychosis, 7 

Psychotherapy, 133, 203, 204 
Purgatory, 274 f, 283 
Purification, passive, 283 fF. 
Puysegur, Marquis de, 161 
Pyromania, 132 

Queen, Thomas — case of, 153 ff. 
Quietism, 72, 262 

Radiaesthesia (divining by rod, 

etc.), 182, 195 fF. 
Rapport, 142, 157, 201, 231 
Raps, 170 

Rasputin — and the Tsarevitch, 238 
Raupert — and spiritualismj 155, 

156, 232 
Rays, radiations, 196, 221 
Reese, Prof. Bert (American oil 

diviner), 198 
'Reincarnation, 215 
Tkelaxation, spiritual, 342 
Renouard, A. A. — case of, 219 
Reynolds, Colonel — prospective 

dream of, 105 
Rhine, Prof. J. B,, 13, 69, 71, 133, 

152, 153 

Ribot, 60 

Richet, Ch., 49 

Ritual, Roman, and signs of posses- 
sion, 253 

Rochus, 144 

Rod, divining — see Radiaesthesia 

Rope trick, 148 

Roy, MgrLe — and African pygmies, 

St Michael, S. Africa — exorcism at, 

San Francisco, 153 

Santos, Dr Felicio dos, 155 

Sardon, V., 215 

Sauerbrey, Frau Minna — case of 
raps under police observation, 1 7 1 

Savary, Anne Victorine ( = Madame 
" de Thebes) — prophecies of, 1 69 

Savicky, 70 

Scherman, R. — "detective medi- 
um", 159 

Scheyern monastery — relic of true 
Cross in, 250 

Schiller, 60, 130, 227 

Schizophrenia, 132 ff. 

Schleyer, Dr F. L. — and Lourdes, 

Schmid, Dr F., 53 

Schmidt, Fr W., 14, 77, 90 ff., 191 

Schneider, Bishop, 28 ff., 43, 50, 51, 
124, 130 ff., 139, 179, 188, 195 



Schobritz, Fr W. — and possession, 

\S<5nopenhauer — and ghost-seeing, 

47, 164, 227 
Schrenck-Notzing, 169, 178 
Schulten, Mother S., mystic, 280 
Second sight, 1 15 fF. 
Shamans (Siberian magicians), 188 
Shankara philosophy, 263 
\ Silbert, Frau — medium, 128, 176, 
Sin, see Original Sin 
Sing, Saddhu Sundar, 263 
^ iSlade — medium, 128, 181 

Sleep, 99 fF., 185, 267 fF.; induced 

from a distance, 140 
SJeep-walking, see Somnambulism 
xy^Toiih, Helen — medium, 127 fF., 160 
Somnambulism (sleep-walking),! 1 1, 

1 145 1355 1575 226 fF, 243 
Somnolence, 7, loi 
Soul, 4 fF., 29, 32, 39, 50 fF, 54 fF., 

74 fF., 268 {see also Body-Soul, 

Soul, night of the, 283 
Soul, partly body-free, 83, 93, 95, 

III, 183, 194, 236 fF., 242 fF., 259 
^/^Spirits, 13, 74 {see also Ghosts) 
Spirit-soul, 5, 10, 25, 57 fF, 66 fF, 

104, iiofF, 162 fF, 203, 211, 

217 f., 224, 243, 268, 271 fF 
^^^ Spiritualism, 183, 187, 194, 203, 

213 fF., 225 
Spook, see Hauntings 
Staudenmeier, Prof., 44, 185 
Steiner, Dr Rudolf, 260 fF, 270 
Stigmata, 203, 238 
Subconscious, 58 fF, 68, 71, 94, 

120 fF., 128, 132, 138, 141, 163, 

173 ff-. 1995 203, 212, 216, 226 fF., 

230 fF, 241 
Suggestion, 203, 206 fF, 211, 234 
' ' Superconsciousness ",68 
Surin, S.J. — and Loudun nuns, 273 
Sutter, Fr P. — and possessed child- 
ren, 1250 
Swedenborg, 152, 215 
Synteresis, 33, 45 

Table-turning, 175 fF., 215 
Tacitus, magic in, 187 
Tagore, Rabindranath, 263 

Talarico, Maria — unique case of 

possession, 245 fF. 
Talismans, 202 
Telacoustic, 1 70 fF. 
Telaesthesia, see Clairvoyance 
Telekinesis, 72, 170, 172, 176 fF. 
Telepathy, 72, 108, 136 fF., 146, 

148, 149 fF., 211 fF, 219, 232, 

242 fF. 
Teleplastic phenomena, 170, 181 fF. 
Tension, spiritual, 280, 342 
Teresa, St, 275, 283 fF. 
Terriss, W. — murder foreseen, 105, 

TertuUian, 214 

Thebes, Mme de, see Savary, A.V. 
Theosophy, 57, 182, 257 ff., 259 fF. 
Thomas Aquinas, St, 14 fF, 17, 

24 fF., 37 fF., 42, 45 fF., 55 fF, 

63 fF., 77 f , 80, 83, 87, 102 
Tischner, 137, 140, 161, 181, 218, 

Tomczyk, Stan. — strange case of 

telekinesis, 178 
Tongues, speaking with, 147 
Townshend, C. H. — and mesmerism, 

"Training, autogenous' , 202 

Trance, 280 

Trent, Council of, 95, 155 

Trichotomy, 9, 57, 58 

Trilles, Fr, 212 

Trinity, Blessed, 271, 274, 282 

Tritheim, Abbot — and telepathy, 43 

Urban, Dr H. — and "Cosmic Con- 
sciousness", 60, 68, 133 

Valiantine, G. — and "voices", 175 

Vaughan, Cardinal, 175 

Veraldi, G. — case of possession, 

245 fF. ^ 

Vianney, see Ars, Cure d 
Vienne, Council of, 54 
Vision, Beatific, 275 fF, 279 
Visions, 284 {see also Eidetic) 

Waldmann, 151, 279 
Walker, Dr K., 60 
Warts, 242 

Weber, Fr J. K. — strange experience 
of, 28 



Weygandt — dream of, 109 

Will, freedom of the, 235 

Will, influence on the, 30 {see also 

Wimmer, J. — and magnetoid 

polarities, 143, 196 
, Wintersheim, A., 161, 209 
Witches, III, 123 ff., 128, 187, 214 
Worth, Patience — and writings of 

Mrs Curran, 222 

Wunst,J., 143, 196 

Yoga, 148, 242, 256, 258, 264 
Yogananda, Paramhanza, 263 

Zola, E. — novel on Lourdes, 207 
ZoUner, 180 ff., 216 
Zur Bonsen, F., 48, 1 16 




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